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28 January 2007

Helen Hill Memorial Website Media Mention


Family, friends and fellow community and cinema activists have been contributing to the pages on the webpage that links to this post's title.

The number of articles, website references and bloggers who have had something to say about the murder of Hill more than 3 weeks ago in NOLA is astounding. That someone makes the effort to pull those links together is commendable. Helen herself, I'll bet, if in her lifetime all that news coverage had highlighted her volunteer work teaching and feeding and offering support to pre- and post-Katrina residents of the Delta Region and New Orleans . . well people like Helen tend to just throw that stuff away so they can get on to the next challenge.

One focus of her impact on other people doing good volunteer work was in encouraging people in Halifax to pitch in after the flooding of NOLA. And when she lived there she influenced cinematographers to find community themes for creative experimentation with documentary film. If we started with the tens of blog posts listed on the HelenHill Org 'articles' page, it would be possible to document what it takes to pull one small community together. Was it Food Not Bombs that helped mobilize Halifax volunteers? Was it the filmmakers? Was it one individual?

In any case, thanks to the people who pulled those links together. Hopefully there will be some follow-up study and help us remember the motto: 'Don't Mourn, Organize!'

4 comments:

cristin said...

hi there, I'm the one who has put together and has been maintining helenhill.org.

I'm glad that you like the site, it has been something I can focus on while dealing with the horror of Helen's death. I'm not so sure about your "Don't Mourn, Organize!" motto, as I have been mourning a lot. The site gives me one thing I can focus on that will help other people and hopefully ease my pain.

also listed on that page is my personal blog - words found on federal land if you want to get a better idea of what is going through my head.

I don't know how Helen would react to all the media coverage, but she would urge (and Paul is urging) people to help fix New Orleans, the city Helen loved.

Blogaulaire said...

cristin, what you've put together for others will help, I'm confident.

We agree. You said it: help out in New Orleans and the Delta.

I, for one, will check out your blog.

Blogaulaire said...

cristin, I sent you a personal email at the address you gave on the webpage.

I read the recent posts on your blog 'words found on federal land' and was quite moved. Hang in there with all my sympathies and all the support, I am certain, of your mutual friends who have so many positive memories of Helen.

When users click on the links you gave, at first we get an automatic message that we are being blocked as suspected spammers. But then we can just click through to get to the Helen Hill memorial website and see the messages and information.

(So don't anybody be put off by the quirky software running on that server. Please do click through to see the links cristin has uploaded to the page.)

Here, below, is some stuff that will explain where Blogaulaire is coming from on the CPE blog when I write 'don't mourn, organize':

----------------------------------In the Influence and tributes section to the Wikipedia entry for Joe Hill (which everybody should read), you will find the following.

"Hill was memorialized in a tribute poem written about him c. 1930 by Alfred Hayes titled "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night", sometimes referred to simply as "Joe Hill".[2] Hayes's lyrics were turned into a song in 1936 by Earl Robinson. The usual lyrics to the song go:

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
Alive as you and me.
Says I "But Joe, you're ten years dead"
"I never died" said he,
"I never died" said he.

"In Salt Lake, Joe," says I to him,
him standing by my bed,
"They framed you on a murder charge,"

Says Joe, "But I ain't dead,"
Says Joe, "But I ain't dead."

"The Copper Bosses killed you Joe,
they shot you Joe" says I.

"Takes more than guns to kill a man"
Says Joe "I didn't die"
Says Joe "I didn't die"

And standing there as big as life
and smiling with his eyes.
Says Joe "What they can never kill
went on to organize,
went on to organize"

From San Diego up to Maine,
in every mine and mill,
where working-men defend their rights,
it's there you find Joe Hill,
it's there you find Joe Hill!

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
alive as you and me.
Says I "But Joe, you're ten years dead"
"I never died" said he,
"I never died" said he.

Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger often performed this song and are associated with it, along with renowned Irish folk group The Dubliners. Their version, scored by Phil Coulter and sung by Luke Kelly, offers a stirring mix of Coulter's simple piano accompanient and Kelly's gravelly voice. Joan Baez's Woodstock performance of "Joe Hill" in 1969 is the most well-known recording.

Phil Ochs has also written and performed a song about Joe Hill, and in his turn was the subject of a rewritten version of the song by Billy Bragg.

Frank Tovey sings about Joe Hill in his song 'Joe Hill' from the 1989 album 'Tyranny and the Hired Hand'. In this song he uses some of the words from the Alfred Hayes poem.

Bob Dylan claims that Hill's story was one of his inspirations to begin writing his own songs.

The Swedish hardcore band Refused named their LP from 1996, Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent after his song and textbook, published 1909 by the I.W.W.

Chumbawamba's song about Joe Hill, "By and By", appears on the 2005 album A Singsong and a Scrap.

In 1990, Smithsonian Folkways released Don't Mourn - Organize!: Songs of Labor Songwriter Joe Hill. This compilation featured the likes of "Haywire Mac" McClintock and Cisco Houston performing his songs as well as narrative interludes from Utah Phillips, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and others.

cristin said...

sorry about the "403" - I'm using a new version of b2 and I forgot to click a checkbox. All should be well now.

Thank you so much for the explanation of the song/motto.