Joe Jencks

The Old Labor Hall

from The Forgotten

They stand outside the doorway, as the long shadows fall

A line of ghostly figures, at the Old Labor Hall

Mother Jones has just arrived in a pillbox hat and shawl

From the Battle of Blair Mountain to the Old Labor Hall

Big Bill Haywood stoops to enter, he’s nearly six feet tall

Bringing children from Lawrence, to the Old Labor Hall

He nods to Emma Goldman, so fiery, yet so small

She’s arguing with Eugene Debs at the Old Labor Hall

We still tell their stories

We still share their pride

‘Cross a century of struggle

We’re still on their side

They view the ancient photographs that line the worn wood walls

They’re back in 1900, at the Old Labor Hall

An Italian woman cocks her head as if trying to recall

Some old song from Palermo, at the Old Labor Hall

A Scots stonecutter proudly holds his chisel and his maul

His Highland brogue still echoes, through the Old Labor Hall

He sculpts the Barre granite, the finest stone of all

For some rich man’s mausoleum, at the Old Labor Hall

With socialists and anarchists, sometimes it’s quite a brawl

It isn’t always peaceful at the Old Labor Hall

But on the roll of honor, the brightest names of all

Are the immigrants whose strong hands built the Old Labor Hall

And so today we gather, grateful to recall

This gentle man who fought to save the Old Labor Hall

Who with such grace and humor, such feeling for us all

Infused his steadfast passion through the Old Labor Hall

We will tell his story

We will share his pride

Today and in the future

Chet Briggs is on our side

We will tell their stories

We will share their pride

‘Cross a century of struggle

They’re still on our side

We’re still on their side

© Si Kahn, Joe Hill Music ASCAP

updated: 5 months ago