If You Go
What: Joe Hill Road Show: A Musical History of Joe Hill and the Early Labor Movement
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 27
Where: UTC Multicultural Center, University Center third floor
Admission: Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
Information: Mike Thompson at Michael-D-Thompson@utc.edu or 423-425-4565.
Before Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, there was Joe Hill, an early 20th-century songwriter and member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), or “the Wobblies.” A Swedish immigrant and outspoken labor activist, Hill was framed for two murders and executed by a firing squad in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1915.
The case drew international attention and appeals for clemency from U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller, the Swedish ambassador, the American Federation of Labor and others. After his execution, Hill became a labor icon.
The Nashville-based Shelby Bottom Duo, acoustic folk artists Michael August and Nell Levin, created a performance to highlight a “vital slice of labor history with a wide range of people so that we can all better understand why the revolutionary creativity of Joe Hill and the Wobblies is still relevant.”
The event will include a live concert of Joe Hill songs, a slideshow of historical images and information about Hill’s life, early labor struggles and the influence of the IWW’s organizing strategies on labor and other movements.
The one-hour performance will be followed by a discussion with the Shelby Bottom Duo about art, music, labor history and activism. The “Joe Hill Road Show” CD will be available for purchase.
The Shelby Bottom Duo has performed the “Joe Hill Road Show” more than 20 times, including at Vanderbilt University, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; the University of the South; Middle Tennessee State University; Austin Peay State University; Tennessee State University and the University of Memphis.
The event is sponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission, Chattanooga Area Labor Council, the UTC Department of History and United Campus Workers.