Joe Glazer has been singing for justice for 60 years
For nearly 60 years Joe Glazer has been traveling
the world with his guitar, a head full of songs and a commitment to justice
for workers everywhere. He has been there throughout labor’s struggles
and successes, from the desperate years of the Great Depression to the
rise of labor unions to today’s crisis of downsizing, outsourcing
and job loss. His songs, peppered with humor and irony and rife with compassion,
have inspired millions, from picket lines and union halls to Madison Square
Garden and the White House.
His early days of music began in childhood with a $5.95 mail order guitar.
But his true calling as a labor union folk singer bloomed after he became
an education director for the Textile Workers Union.
That was when Glazer first heard songs from Southern textile workers.
He has been composing, singing and recording ever since.
His music has been heard on the “Today” show, “Sunday
Morning,” and “Nightline,” as well as other television
and radio programs. On Sept. 8 he sang and shared stories with union members,
students and others at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
A documentary, “Labor’s Troubadour,” which explores
American labor history, immigration and politics through Glazer’s
songs and commentary, was shown to the audience. It premiered at the Smithsonian
After the showing Glazer performed songs such as “Too Old to Work”
and “Babies in the Mill” for the delighted crowd. The inspired
performance was followed by a discussion and a CD and book signing. Glazer’s
book, “Labor’s Troubadour,” was published in 2002.
Georgia State University has a history deeply entrenched in the labor
movement. Its library houses the Southern Labor Archives, which contains
the largest collection of labor documents in the Southeast, including
records of working people and their unions, professional associations,
political groups and grassroots organizations. GSU is the official repository
for several labor organizations and includes the personal collections
of numerous labor leaders. It was the perfect setting for the Southern
premiere of “Labor Troubadour.” “Our changing economy
is bringing tough times to labor due to the loss of manufacturing jobs,
outsourcing and the current anti-union administration in Washington,”
He believes that working people have faced difficult challenges in the
past and have come through strong as ever. “The answer is solidarity,
because without that we don’t amount to anything,” he says.
You can order Joe Glazer's book from the University of Illinois Press
9225 Wendell Street
Silver Springs, MD 20901-3533
by mail or fax at 301-589-1663.
For more information on Georgia
State University’s Southern
Labor Archives, contact:
Southern Labor Archives
Special Collections Department
Library South, 8th Floor
100 Decatur Street. SE
Atlanta, GA 30303-3202