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Joe Hill Road Show!

Featured upcoming event:  The Joe Hill Road Show!

The Shelby Bottom Duo (Michael August and Nell Levin) will perform their educational and entertaining “Joe Hill Road Show: A Musical History of Joe Hill and the Early Labor Movement” in Convocation Hall Oct. 1 at 4:30 p.m.

The Shelby Bottom Duo has been described as Woody Guthrie meets Robert Johnson and Scott Joplin (The Examiner). A Swedish immigrant, Joe Hill was a member of the international labor group, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies), active in the decade leading up to World War I. In 1914, Joe Hill was convicted of two murders he most likely did not commit. He was executed at age 36 by a firing squad in Salt Lake City in 1915, despite protests from around the globe, including the Swedish ambassador, Helen Keller, and President Woodrow Wilson.

30,000 people attended his funeral in Chicago. Six hundred packages of his ashes were distributed worldwide and in every state in the union, except Utah, in accordance with his wishes. He subsequently became a labor icon, famous for his advice –“don’t mourn, organize!” As a songwriter, Joe Hill is considered a precursor of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan. Joan Baez famously sang “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. The Shelby Bottom Duo will perform Joe Hill’s songs and talk about Hill’s life, early labor struggles in the United States, and the influence of the IWW’s innovative organizing strategies on movements today.

The performance is sponsored by the Department of History, the University Lectures Committee, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Departments of Music and Politics. The performance/lecture is free and open to the public.

For more information about this event, contact Dr. Harold Goldberg hgoldber@sewanee.edu