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Woody Guthrie

Saturday, July 14, from 1-3 PM
Dorothy Day Community Center
54 McAllister St. (at 7th St.)
(one block north of UN Plaza & Civic Center BART)
Map location at 

On July 14, 2012 the SF Gray Panthers had a Sing Out in celebration of Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday and a fund-raiser for the SF Gray Panthers.  Our performers were Hali Hammer, Bonnie Lockhart, Occupella, and the Rockin' Solidarity Labor Chorus.  There were on the importance of Woody Guthrie now and clips about this life and times.  It was a huge success.

Thank you, Gray Panther Mary Swope, for these photographs.

Ocupella: Hali Hammer, Leslie Hasberg, and Bonnie Lockhart

Rockin' Solidarity Labor Chorus

Woody's humor appeals to all ages. (Eventually!)

Watching parts of Democracy Now's show on Woody Guthrie. See below.

We showed this video, from Democracy Now, on Woody Guthrie's development as an anti-racist.

Woody Guthrie, folksong writer and singer for workers everywhere, evolved from ignorant racism to a fierce anti-racist. In this video, excerpted from the July 4 Democracy Now program, we hear stories and songs of Guthrie's reaction to a lynching in his hometown and the attack on the leftist singer Paul Robeson in Peekskill, NY.  See the whole July 4 Democracy Now program.

Robeson scheduled concert in Peekskill for August 27, 1949, a benefit for the Civil Rights Congress, was attacked by the Klan and other racists, thirteen were seriously injured, and the concert was cancelled before Robeson, the racists' target, arrived. A return engagement was scheduled for September 4. Twenty to thirty thousand attended, guarded by a huge contingent of security people drawn from the Communist Party and Communist unions, the racists and local cop were held at bay, and the concert proceeded without incident. But as people left, racists and VFW veterans pelted their cars with rocks in a miles long gauntlet, injuring over 140 people as police stood by.  Hear Billy Bragg sing "My Thirty Thousand" who defended Robeson, whom the racists had sworn to kill.

Check out our program booklet with the words we sang. (pdf)


Check out the Official Woody Guthrie website, with a wealth of lyrics, biographical information, and links to other information.

Thank you, Margot Smith of Berkeley, for suggesting this hour-long 1988 BBC film, based on Alan Lomax interviews from 1942.

Wikipedia tells us Woody Guthrie, born 100 years ago this July 14, wrote “This land is your land”  in response to “God Bless America,” which he thought was not only unrealistic, but also complacent.  In fact, in 1944, he sang:

    As I went walking I saw a sign there
    And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
    But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
    That side was made for you and me.


    Nobody living can ever stop me,
    As I go walking that freedom highway;
    Nobody living can ever make me turn back
    This land was made for you and me.

    In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
    By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
    As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
    Is this land made for you and me?

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SF Gray Panthers,  1182 Market St,  Room 203,  San Francisco CA 94102
Phone: 415-552-8800, fax: 415-552-8801
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