||In our “little red sourcebook” below we offer a list of resources related to Joe Hill…
Itinerant worker, union organizer, labor agitator, cartoonist, poet, musician, composer—murdered by the judiciary in collusion with the mine owners who wished to silence his songs. They killed a man but gave birth to a legend.
— Artist Carlos Cortez, from his
famous woodcut of Joe Hill
The last weekend of August 2011 we had an unusual opportunity to honor Joe Hill and what he stands for. We at Bread and Roses Workers’ Cultural Center in Denver held two days of events for that purpose to coincide with the publication of Bill Adler’s exhaustive and dramatic new biography, The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon.
We are looking forward to commemmorating th 100th anniversary of Joe’s execution in 2015. If you would like to participate in any capacity, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have something to add to the list below, please contact us at the above email address.
- Joe Hill by M. Baer, 1918, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University
- The library has several other items, including Hill’s papers from Sweden, some of his artwork, photographs of him and his funeral, etc.
- Joe Hill by Carlos Cortez (1923–2005); see this tribute to Cortez at Rebel Graphics
- Also available as a T shirt from Bread and Roses Workers’ Cultural Center
- Songs of Joe Hill Series by Dylan Miner, including “Mr. Block,” “There Is Power in the Union,” and “Rebel Girl”; also a double portrait of Joe Hill and Ricardo Flores Magón
|While the People’s Songs organization may be forgotten to many, several of its members are household names: Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Woody Guthrie, Josh White, Earl Robinson, Ronnie Gilbert, Burl Ives, Alan Lomax. The image above comes from the Labor Arts virtual museum.
Film and Television
- The American Folklife Center: “A Brief List of References to Joe Hill, the Person and the Song”
- Holt Labor Library: bibliography and links to websites and archives
- Joe Hill Project at the University of Utah contains information about the case against Joe Hill, including contemporary newspaper transcripts, biographical sketches, location and historical photographs, and even a map—but beware of many errors (e.g., crediting “Joe Hill” composer Earl Robinson with penning “Solidarity Forever”)
- J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, has much material, including digital (watermarked) photographs and articles
In each there lives the spirit cold and dark,
But a single flame, a solitary spark,
One beacon to ignite the working class
One man whose flesh resides within the grass
His body killed; his life a short reprise,
His murder done by governmental lies.
The voice one stilled, rings on throughout the earth
It sings while some small remnant gives it birth.
The world will say he perished with his death
But workers live his songs with every breath
His voice cannot be stilled by worldly powers
Joe Hill’s eternal voice sings on in ours.
— Ken Valero, Denver Mailers Union No. 8, on the
occasion of the presentation of a birthday card
for Joe Hill to the Denver branch of the
Industrial Workers of the World
- A Coffin Covered in Roses: Poems for Joe Hill by Christopher Leibow
- The Case of Joe Hill: The Story of the Trial, the Mass Defence Campaign, and the Execution of the Famous IWW Poet, Songwriter, and Organizer by Philip S. Foner
- “Joe Hill,” a two-page portrait near the end of Nineteen Nineteen by John Dos Passos, from his trilogy U.S.A.
- Joe Hill: The IWW and the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Counterculture by Franklin Rosemount
- Joe Hill by Gibbs M. Smith, which was the basis for the film by Bo Wilderberg
- The Letters of Joe Hill by Philip S. Foner
- The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon by William M. Adler, to be released in August 2011
- The Preacher and the Slave (reprinted as Joe Hill: A Biographical Novel) by Wallace Stegner
- The Wild, Wild Wobblies by Stewart Holbrook
Music – Songs by Joe Hill
Music – Inspired by Joe Hill
- “1915” by Anti-Flag, from their album General Strike, describes the death of Joe Hill, and incorporates his last will and “Workers of the World Awaken”
- “Christmas in Washington” by Steve Earle from his album El Corazón, in which he invokes the name of Joe Hill along with Woodie Guthrie, Cisco Houston, Emma Goldman, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King
- “Joe Hill” by Phil Ochs from his album Tape From California
- Billy Bragg covers this on Don’t Mourn—Organize! mentioned above
- Joe Hill: 16 Actions for Chamber Orchestra, Voices, and Soloist by Wayne Horvitz
- Labor Notes – Song of the Month: “Joe Hill (I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night)” by Alfred Hayes and Earl Robinson
- “Joe Hill’s Ashes” by Marc Levy, included on Don’t Mourn—Organize! mentioned above
- “Joe Hill’s Ashes” from the CD of the same name, by Otis Gibbs
Music & Video
|From Barrie Stavis’ The Man Who Never Died, a 2009 production by Association for the Retention of Cultural Heritages (ARCH) at Lafayette’s Harlequin Center for the Performing Arts.