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This weeks show:
From the archives of TUC Radio – this is a celebration of his life and an account, in his own words, of how he became an activist.

In this Part TWO Utah talked about founding the Poor People’s Party, working with the Mormon Church, the Black Panthers and Judi Bari, and how he became involved with the Singer Songwriters movement. He closed with moving, enduring advice on how to work and organize together.

In the early-1960s, Phillips was involved with Fair Play for Cuba and the struggle for open housing laws in Utah. In 1968, he was nominated and campaigned for the U.S. Senate on the Peace and Freedom ticket. The experience led to Phillips being dismissed from his job with the Utah State Archives.

Following the election, Phillips remained in Utah for a year, working for the Migrant Council and living on a cot in the back of a big warehouse called “The Cosmic Airplane”. Encouraged by friends, including folk singer Rosalie Sorrels, to try his hand at performing, Phillips moved to the East Coast in 1969. He settled, for several years, in Sarasota Springs, New York, where he became a regular performer at Cafe Lena.

Phillips was a proud member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies). His view of unions and politics were shaped by his parents, especially his Mom who was a labor organizer for the CIO. But Phillips was more of a Christian Anarchist and a pacifist, so found the modern-day Wobblies to be the perfect fit for him, an iconoclast and artist.

At the end of his life Phillips lived in Nevada City, California where he hosted a weekly, one-hour, radio show, Loafer’s Glory: The Hobo Jungle of the Mind. The Hospitality House that he co-founded still shelters the Homeless. The folk singer, labor organizer, storyteller, activist and poet Utah Phillips was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 15, 1935, he died in Nevada City, CA, on May 23, 2008.

Utah Phillips came to the Unitarian Fellowship Hall in Berkeley on May 18, 2004, to talk about his life. Recorded by Maria Gilardin. May is the month for the folk singer, labor organizer, storyteller, activist and poet Utah Phillips. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 15, 1935, he died in Nevada City, CA, on May 23, 2008.

From the archives of TUC Radio – this is a celebration of his life and an account, in his own words, of how he became an activist.

“The golden voice of the great American Southwest”, Bruce “U. Utah” Phillips came to the Unitarian Fellowship Hall in Berkeley on May 18, 2004, to talk about his life.

Phillips parents were union organizers in the 1930s. When he left home to join a road crew in Yellowstone Park the older workers, who played guitars, taught Phillips how to turn his ukulele chords into guitar chords.

As a soldier during the war on Korea, Phillips continued to find refuge in music and helped to form a band. After he returned to the United States he befriended Ammon Hennessey at the Joe Hill House for Transients and Migrants. Hennessey convinced him to become a pacifist and to use music as a political weapon.

Come back for the second part of this one hour talk when Utah Phillips remembered the founding of the Poor People’s Party for children, working with the Mormon Church, the Black Panthers and Judi Bari, and how he became involved with the Folk Singers movement.



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