1577: Soulmother of Kussnacht 1695: Zumbi dos Palmares

1915: Joe Hill

November 19th, 2007 Headsman

On this date in 1915, songwriter, poet and labor activist Joe Hill was shot in Utah for the murder of a local butcher.

Even before his execution, the Swedish immigrant was widely thought to have been railroaded for his IWW affiliation.

Though state authorities had little use for the worldwide clemency bid whose backers included U.S. President Woodrow Wilson — powerless to intervene officially, since the execution was a state matter — Hill walked spryly into his martyrdom. The strange post-mortem career of his totemic ashes is the least of the ways Hill lives on.

His dauntless last message to fellow Wobbly Bill Haywood — “Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize.” — is a permanent fixture on pins and placards among every stripe of left activist. The songs he wrote remain in print — and in performance.

And the Depression-era tribute ballad “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” can seamlessly serenade ripped-from-the-headlines footage, as a Paul Robeson rendition does in these clips of 1998 protests against then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Activists,Artists,Arts and Literature,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Famous,Famous Last Words,History,Language,Martyrs,Murder,Popular Culture,Shot,USA,Utah,Wrongful Executions

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 thoughts on “1915: Joe Hill”

  1. jeff says:

    w00t! for the wobblies!

  2. jeff says:

    they’re still around, btw: http://www.iww.org/ . i’m not a member. i probably should be, but it’s too romantic for me. lol.

  3. Andrew Davies says:

    Sad, tragic but full of hope and grace

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Calendar

November 2007
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Dec »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Archives

Categories




Recently Commented

  • Anon George: He was my uncle. There was another boy....
  • JCF: “the pleasing mistress with the...
  • Asher: Hiram I ask a question from u when u will in...
  • Asher: If u study deeply then Prince Mustafa was the...
  • abba hey: I am caesarion:)

Accolades