The Glacier County Library will host Montana Conversation program “Load Sixteen Tons, And What Do You Get?” with Bill Rossiter on Thursday, Nov. 9. The program will be at the Cut Bank Library, 21 1st Ave SE at 5:30 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public. 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.
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, Mont., emeritus instructor of literature, humanities and folklore, will accompany the songs with guitar, banjo, autoharp and harmonica. He is a recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Humanities Award.
Library Director, Jamie Greco commented, “The community always seems to respond so well whenever we feature a presentation that includes music. This is a wonderful opportunity for us all to come together for some music, light refreshments and to learn a little about American History. It promises to be a fun, relaxing and enjoyable evening, so please join us!”
For more information, please call Glacier County Library at 873-4572.