19 November

The radical labour organiser and International Workers of the World activist Joel Emmanuel Hägglund, aka Joseph Hillström, aka Joe Hill, was executed by firing squad in Utah on 19 November 1915. His last word was 'Fire!'

November 19, 2009 · 2 min read

Hill was found guilty of murder in a controversial trial. Shortly before his death he wrote famously, ‘Don’t waste any time in mourning – organise!’

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,

Alive as you and me.

Says I, ‘But Joe, you’re ten years dead.’

‘I never died,’ said he,

‘I never died,’ said he.

‘In Salt Lake, Joe,’ says I to him,

Him standing by my bed,

‘They framed you on a murder charge.’

Says Joe, ‘But I ain’t dead,’

Says Joe, ‘But I ain’t dead.’

‘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.’

And standing there as big as life,

And smiling with his eyes,

Says Joe, ‘What they can never kill,

Went on to organise,

Went on to organise.’

From San Diego up to Maine,

In every mine and mill,

Where working-men defend their rights,

It’s there you find Joe Hill,

It’s there you find Joe Hill.

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,

Alive as you and me.

Says I, ‘But Joe, you’re ten years dead.’

‘I never died,’ said he,

‘I never died, said he.


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