On Friday, July 12, 1913 Massacre screened in the Norman Thomas Hall at the Three Arrows Cooperative Society in Putnam Valley, New York. After the credits rolled, a woman in the audience started singing “Joe Hill,” and everybody joined in.
A classic organizing song with a rich history, “Joe Hill” is probably one of the songs Woody had in mind when he wrote his song about copper bosses and the “copper boss thugs” in Calumet.
“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.”
Three Arrows Cooperative Society also has a strong claim to this history. Established in 1936 as a socialist summer retreat, the Putnam Valley colony was a place that Woody Guthrie would have known. In 1949, he and members of the Cooperative, along with people from other colonies and camps in the Peekskill area, were involved in the Civil Rights Congress benefit concert.
The concert was originally planned for August 27th, but had to be postponed after violent protests by local reactionaries (“fascists” in the parlance of the day).
The following week, however, Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger performed for a racially integrated audience. The fascists rioted and attacked concert-goers. When we interviewed him, Pete Seeger remembered people throwing stones. “It was like a battlefield…you had guys surrounded.” Later, he said, he heard that the Klan was involved (along with the local police force) in organizing and inciting the violence.
With all this history in the mix, Three Arrows Cooperative was a wonderful place to show the film, and we’re grateful to Hilary White for organizing the event. I put up some shots of the venue on Twitter yesterday, just to give a sense of the place and its connection, via Norman Thomas, to this history.
Here’s the hall. We’re always happy to screen the film for audiences of any size and, whenever possible, show up to take questions or talk about the project. pic.twitter.com/1cUvCH67YU— Louis V. Galdieri (@lvgaldieri) July 13, 2019
If you would like to show the film, or invite us to present it, just get in touch.