A resolution proclaiming January 8 – February 9, 2003, as the Woody Guthrie 90th Year Celebration.

WHEREAS Woody Guthrie, born Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, July 14, 1912, to Charlie and Nora Guthrie, in Okemah, Oklahoma, whose formative years were spent between Okemah and the Texas Panhandle, where difficult circumstances influenced his writing, music, ideology, and politics throughout his life; and

WHEREAS Woody's maternal grandmother, Mary Maloney, was a school teacher from Tennessee, whose native Appalachian ballads were passed through her daughter Nora to Woody, which was reflected in his song-style and repertoire; and

WHEREAS Woody expressed himself as a true artist throughout his life, creating cartoons, drawings and murals, and painting signs for hire, to playing harmonica and later learning fiddle and then guitar; and

WHEREAS in the 1930s Woody migrated to California with the other "Okies" to find work and escape the dust storms that choked Midwestern farms and communities; and

WHEREAS in the late 1930's, through his radio show in California with partner Maxine Crissman (a.k.a. Lefty Lou), Woody brought a revival of Southern and traditional folk music, then later raised awareness of the worker's plight with his political songs; and

WHEREAS Woody was moved to compose his "Dust Bowl Ballads," songs about the victims of the Great American Depression, including classics such as Pretty Boy Floyd, So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh, Talking Dust Bowl Blues, and Hard Travelin¹, and

WHEREAS in 1941 Woody was invited by the US Government to help Americans understand the advantage of creating dams for electrical power by documenting the Bonneville Dam Project in song, still revered as some of Woody's greatest works, including Roll On Columbia, Pastures of Plenty, and Grand Coulee Dam; and

WHEREAS Woody made an indelible contribution to America, with his unofficial national anthem This Land Is Your Land; which illustrates America and it's landscape belong to all its citizens and its message continues to inspire us to this day; and
WHEREAS like his mother, Nora, Woody was incapacitated by Huntington¹s Disease and died October 3, 1967 at the age of 55; and

WHEREAS Woody's epic rambling brought him in touch with every aspect of America's lushness and beauty, to its skid row and shantytowns, to Hollywood's glamour and hypocrisy, to the plight of the common man and woman, Woody's life and music will be remembered along with the very greatest song writers America has produced, and whose work continues to speak for freedom and justice throughout the world; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that the City of Nashville celebrate the life and works of this great American Legend in The Woody Guthrie 90th Year Celebration, from January 8 - February 9, 2003, with a film festival, exhibitions at museums and galleries, seminars and book signings, musical tributes, and with programs involving Nashville's Public School students.


SECTION 1. That the Metropolitan County Council hereby goes on record as proclaiming January 8 – February 9, 2003, as the Woody Guthrie 90th Year Celebration.

SECTION 2. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Eileen Beehan


Referred to: Rules & Confirmations Committee
Introduced: January 21, 2003
Adopted: January 21, 2003
Approved: January 22, 2003
By: Bill Purcell