Friday, November 19, 2010

joe hill

joe hill

born joel emmanuel hägglund,
also known as joseph hillström
(october 7, 1879 – november 19, 1915)

swedish rebel boy, tramp, folk poet, and labor organizer who took the message of the wobblies to the people in the form of poems, songs, and speeches. he often put new words to the tune of well-known hymns as in his songs 'the preacher and the slave' and 'there is power in a union'. many of his songs are available as part of the i.w.w.'s little red song book.

as an immigrant and an itinerant worker, he was easily convicted for a high profile murder with the only evidence against him his membership in the industrial workers of the world and a bullet wound he refused to explain. he was executed by firing squad ninety five years ago. his last word: "fire!"

(written in his cell, november 18, 1915,
on the eve of his execution)

my will is easy to decide,
for there is nothing to divide.
my kind don't need to fuss and moan --
"moss does not cling to a rolling stone."

my body? ah, if i could choose,
i would to ashes it reduce,
and let the merry breezes blow
my dust to where some flowers grow.

perhaps some fading flower then
would come to life and bloom again.
this is my last and final will.
good luck to all of you.

joe hill

'i dreamed i saw joe hill last night' is a tribute written by alfred hayes and put to music by earl robinson.

phil ochs wrote his own tribute.

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