THE ALMANAC SINGERS, 1942: BESS HAWES, PETE SEEGER, MILLARD LAMPELL, WOODY GUTHRIE, ARTHUR STERN, SIS CUNNINGHAM (left to right)
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The United Automobile Workers, now part of the AFL-CIO, is one of the largest unions in the world, with more than a million members.... Many songs have been written about the UAW and its turbulent history, beginning with the sit-down strikers of the 'thirties. One of the best describes the union's role during World War II when UAW members (aided of course by workers in steel, rubber, glass, electrical, and a dozen other industries) turned out an unbelievable mountain of planes, jeeps, and tanks to crush Hitler and his allies. This was another product of the Almanac Singers -- only by that time most of the original members had dropped out and a new group had taken over. It included John Lomax's daughter Bess and her husband, Baldwin Hawes.
Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer, eds., Songs of Work and Protest, New York, NY, 1973, p. 91.
WRITTEN FOR THE SEVENTH ANNUAL CONVENTION -- CHICAGO, 1942
I was standing down on Gratiot Street one day,
When I thought I overheard a soldier say,
"Every tank and plane in camp
Carries the U.A.W. stamp
And I am U.A.W. too. I'm proud to say."
CHORUS: I was there when that union came to town,
It's that U.A.W.-C.I.O.
Makes that army roll and go,
Turnin' out jeeps and tanks and airplanes every day.
It's that U.A.W.-C.I.O.
Makes that army roll and go --
Puts wheels on the U.S.A.
I was there when that union came to town;
I was standing at gate four
When I heard the people roar:
"Ain't nobody keeps us auto-workers down."
I was there on that cold December day
When we heard about Pearl Harbor far away;
I was down at Cadillac Square
When the union rallied there
To put them plans for pleasure cars away.
There'll be a union label in Berlin
When the union boys in uniform march in;
And rolling in the ranks
There'll be U.A.W. tanks
-- Roll Hitler out and roll the union in!
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ON THE ALMANAC SINGERS AND WOODY GUTHRIE