This year’s annual Joe Hill Awards honored Pat Wynne and Charlie King, two amazing individuals who not only embody the work and life of Joe Hill but also exemplify how the arts can influence workers and civil rights.
We congratulate Pat Wynne and Charlie King for their remarkable work and ongoing efforts!
The award is named for Joe Hill, a radical songwriter, labor activist and member of the Industrial Workers of the World. He was executed for murdering a local anti-union businessman and his son. Hill was memorialized in a tribute poem written about 1930 by Alfred Hayes, titled “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” (often referred to simply as “Joe Hill”).
Hayes’s lyrics were turned into a song in 1936 by Earl Robinson. Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger often performed this song and are associated with it. Joan Baez’s Woodstock performance of “Joe Hill” in 1969 is the most well-known recording.
The Labor Heritage Foundation began presenting the Joe Hill Award in 1989. The award, given during the foundation’s annual Great Labor Arts Exchange arts festival, honors an individual for a body of work in the field of labor culture.