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Woody Guthrie – Centennial Celebration
Woodrow Wilson Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912, in Okemah, Oklahoma. Music festivals around the country mark his centennial. Many know Woody Guthrie by the song “This Land Is Your Land,” but he recorded much more and the bulk of those songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Woody was very productive: he was a writer, a cartoonist, and a biographer.
- He was born on July 14, Bastille Day. He moved to Brooklyn in 1940. He was a radical guy, a socialist. His father was a successful businessman in Oklahoma during the boom times.
- He had grown up in a stable middle class family. His mother suffered from Huntington’s disease, which killed Woody Guthrie in 1967 at the age of 55.
- Woody Guthrie did travel with migrant workers, of course there were hundreds of thousands of migrants riding the rails.
- In California, Woody started his career also as a radio personality. He was already writing and painting, he was a multi-faceted artist.
- Woody loved Will Rogers, another Oklahoman; he was a Native American and stand up comic.
- Not only was Woody a writer and performer of songs, he also wrote poetry and prose and newspaper opinion pieces.
- He was also a talented painter and visual artist.
- His autobiographical novel, Bound for Glory, was published in 1943.
- Woody Guthrie had 8 children over the course of his life. He did several albums of children’s songs for Folkways Records.
- He composed “This Land Is Your Land” to a response to “God Bless America.”
- Since that time it’s been sanitized because they took out the more communistic verses; it’s kind of a second national anthem.
- “Roots of Woody Guthrie: Celebrating Woody at 100” Down Home Radio Show
Guest – Eli Smith, host and producer of Down Home Radio Show, is a banjo player, writer, researcher and promoter of folk music living in New York City. Eli is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist. Eli organizes two folk festivals annually, the Brooklyn Folk Festival in the spring and the Washington Square Park Folk Festival in the fall. He has appeared as a guest on terrestrial radio stations such as WBAI, WNYC, WKCR and WDST in New York and KPFA, KPFK and KUCI in California.
National Lawyers Guild Honors Co-Host Michael Smith as a “Champions of Justice” for 2015
Michael Steven Smith is a New York City attorney and author. For the last 10 years he has been a co-host with Michael Ratner and Heidi Boghosian of the radio show Law and Disorder which is heard on WBAI and 71 stations across the country. Smith is the author or editor of a number of books including most recently, with Michael Ratner, Who Killed Che?: How the CIA Got Away with Murder and, with Frances Goldin and Debby Smith, Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA. The Cuban publishing house Ciencias Sociales translated and published his book on Che, which was featured at the 2015 Havana International Book Fair, where it was presented at the University of Havana Law School by Ricardo Alarcon, the former President of the Cuban National Assembly, who also contributed the introduction. The book is dedicated to his friend Len Weinglass, the main attorney for the Cuban Five, for whose release Smith worked. Smith also wrote Notebook of a Sixties Lawyer: An Unrepentant Memoir and a book about National Lawyers Guild lawyers called Lawyers You’ll Like.
He has been a member of the National Lawyers Guild since the ’60s when he started a movement law firm in Detroit. Before going into private practice in New York City representing seriously injured persons, he worked at Harlem Legal Services, Queens Legal Services, and directed Seafarers Legal Services.
Smith was educated at the University of Wisconsin. He lives in New York City with his wife Debby and talking parrot Charlie Parker.