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Mill Mother’s Lament: Ella May Wiggins and the Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929

Mill Mother’s Lament: Ella May Wiggins and the Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929 essay .................... Ella May Wiggins and the Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929 by Patrick Huber Ella May Wiggins, the "poet laureate" of the Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929, peer of such southern folkmusic giants as Harlan coal-mining singer Aunt Molly Jackson, Arkansas sharecropper poet John Handcox, and Okie balladeer Woody Guthrie, was silenced by a mill thug's bullet on September 14, 1929. She was only twenty-nine years old. Ella May Wiggins with friend (probably Charlie Shope), 1929, UPI/ Bettmann Newsphotos, published in Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World (UNC Press). oody Guthrie considered her one of our nation's best songwriters. Alan Lomax published her stark union ballads in his acclaimed collections of American folksongs. Pete Seeger recorded a version of her most famous song on a Cold War folk revival album. Her name was Ella May Wiggins, and although she is not well known today, she was one of a handful of southern grassroots composers who combined traditional balladry with leftwing politics to forge a remarkable new song genre just prior to and during the upheaval of the Great Depression. She also helped to spearhead a Communist-led labor uprising of unprecedented scale in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

Mill Mother’s Lament: Ella May Wiggins and the Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929

Southern Cultures , Volume 15 (3) – Aug 13, 2009

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright © University of North Carolina Press
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1534-1488
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Abstract

essay .................... Ella May Wiggins and the Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929 by Patrick Huber Ella May Wiggins, the "poet laureate" of the Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929, peer of such southern folkmusic giants as Harlan coal-mining singer Aunt Molly Jackson, Arkansas sharecropper poet John Handcox, and Okie balladeer Woody Guthrie, was silenced by a mill thug's bullet on September 14, 1929. She was only twenty-nine years old. Ella May Wiggins with friend (probably Charlie Shope), 1929, UPI/ Bettmann Newsphotos, published in Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World (UNC Press). oody Guthrie considered her one of our nation's best songwriters. Alan Lomax published her stark union ballads in his acclaimed collections of American folksongs. Pete Seeger recorded a version of her most famous song on a Cold War folk revival album. Her name was Ella May Wiggins, and although she is not well known today, she was one of a handful of southern grassroots composers who combined traditional balladry with leftwing politics to forge a remarkable new song genre just prior to and during the upheaval of the Great Depression. She also helped to spearhead a Communist-led labor uprising of unprecedented scale in

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Aug 13, 2009

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