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LIbrary hosting 'Load sixteen tons, and what do you get'


April 20, 2017

From Havre-Hill County Library

The Havre-Hill County Library will host the Montana Conversation program “Load Sixteen Tons, And What Do You Get?” with Bill Rossiter Tuesday at 7 p.m.

From “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” to “Take This Job and Shove It,” Americans have sung about work, whether they’re nine-to-fivers or dawn-to-duskers. The songs from union halls, mines, fields, factories, picket lines and jail cells are the sound-track to an important part of American history, and they can still stir us. As one old-timer put it, “The boss had all the money, but we had all the songs.”

Railroad CEO Jay Gould scoffed when he sent thugs to beat up striking workers: “I can always hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” But many workers, refusing to “kill the other half,” tried to pull the halves together, and they used songs to boost their spirit, air their grievances, rally their fellow workers and show that “united we stand” is more than just a slogan — it’s a tactic.

Bill Rossiter of Kalispell, emeritus instructor of literature, humanities and folklore, will accompany songs with guitar, banjo, autoharp and harmonica during the program. He is a recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Humanities Award. The presentation is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.

Funding for the Montana Conversations program is provided by Humanities Montana through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Montana’s Cultural Trust, and private donations.

For more information, people can call the Havre-Hill County Library at 406-265-2123, drop them a line on the Facebook page, or email them at library@havrehill.org” library@havrehill.org.


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