Session/Séance 4j: CSTM Workshop 1 Friday/vendredi 26 May 2017. 10:00AM-10:45AM, EJB 120.
Chair: HEATHER SPARLING (Cape Breton University)
Hold the Fort: The Importance of Song in the Labour Movement of 1900-1950
Leo Feinstein, Independent Scholar
We will explore the use of song in bringing a sense of comradeship to the labour movement, and discuss the staying power of songs like “Hold the Fort,” written ca. 1890. To make it easy for workers to remember, existing tunes were often borrowed. The strident “We Shall Not be Moved” gets its tune from the hymn “I Shall Not be Moved.” A favorite of the American worker, “Solidarity Forever,” borrows the tune of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Some labour songs from Cape Breton Island will be explored, including two archival CDs of coal and steel mining songs from the 1920s and 1930s and recordings made by Men of the Deeps, a choir of working and retired coal miners. Finally, we will look at some songbooks that were available during this period, including the First and Second People’s Songbooks, and the IWW Songbook.