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Frederick Trump is Immortalized by Woody Guthrie but not in a Good Way

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Folk icon Woody Guthrie was a tenant in one of Trump’s apartment complexes, Beach Haven Apartments in Coney Island, Brooklyn in 1950.  Guthrie criticized him as a landlord in a song: “Old Man Trump,” whom he accused of stirring up racial hatred “in the bloodpot of human hearts”.

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (1912–1967) was an American singer-songwriter, one of the most significant figures in American folk music; his music, including songs, such as “This Land Is Your Land”, has inspired several generations both politically and musically. Many of these songs chronicled the plight of common people, especially during the Great Depression. Guthrie’s politics became increasingly leftist, and by the time he moved to New York City in 1940 he had become an important musical spokesman for labor and populist sentiments, embraced by left-leaning intellectuals and courted by communists. At the time of his death in 1967, Guthrie had become a legendary as a folk figure who influenced singer-songwriters as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

Old Man Trump
Words by Woody Guthrie Adapted by Ryan Harvey, Music by Ryan Harvey

I suppose that Old Man Trump knows just how much racial hate
He stirred up in that bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed that color line
Here at his Beach Haven family project

Beach Haven ain’t my home!
No, I just can’t pay this rent!
My money’s down the drain,
And my soul is badly bent!
Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower
Where no black folks come to roam,
No, no, Old Man Trump!
Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!

I’m calling out my welcome to you and your man both
Welcoming you here to Beach Haven
To love in any way you please and to have some kind of a decent place
To have your kids raised up in.

Beach Haven ain’t my home!
No, I just can’t pay this rent!
My money’s down the drain,
And my soul is badly bent!
Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower
Where no black folks come to roam,
No, no, Old Man Trump!
Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!

NYC Walks Blog 75 Frederick Trump is Immortalized by Woody Guthrie but not in a Good Way © 2019 by Dr. Philip Ernest Schoenberg

 

 

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