Category Archives: Ethnic Studies

September 3, 2012, 10:51 am

Don’t Mourn, Organize!

These are the legendary last words of Joe Hill — except that they weren’t his last words. According to Peter Carlson’s Roughneck: The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood (New York: W.W. Norton: 1983) this catchy phrase was rewritten from a telegram sent to Haywood in 1915 as Hill awaited execution on trumped up charges in a Utah jail. What Joe really wrote was:

“Goodbye, Bill, I die like a true blue rebel. Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize!”

But Joe Hill had many more last words. They included a subsequent telegram to Haywood which read:

“Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the state line to be buried? I don’t want to be found dead in Utah.”

Utah is a beautiful state, with some beautiful people in it, but here we are almost a century later and I have got to agree. I don’t want to be found dead in Utah either. If you’ve got to bury me, bury me in a Blue state…

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