By Josh Keogh and Mike Pesa
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2009 print edition of Paper Heart (Issue #1).
On April 29th 2009 the Baltimore General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World gathered at the 2640 Collective Event Space. Workers prepared and shared a wonderful meal and much conversation. At the large inter-industry gathering, the workers discussed the creation of this the first issue of our branch newsletter. A lively discussion and brainstorming session followed about what to name our publication. After much debate the name “The Paper Heart”won the support of the majority of workers present.
“The Paper Heart” is a reference to a song written by Si Kahn appearing on the Smithsonian Folkways Recording: “Don't Mourn-Organize!: Songs Of Labor Songwriter Joe Hill”, which recounts state execution of the famed IWW bard Joe Hill. The immigrant song-writer and labor agitator was framed on a murder charge by Utah authorities. Despite worldwide protests and even the intervention of President Woodrow Wilson, Hill was executed by a firing squad on November 19, 1915. It is said that on the day that he was to die, Joe Hill pinned a paper heart to his chest--so they would know where to aim, Joe said. We dedicate this issue to that spirit of resistance that Fellow Worker Hill so beautifully exemplified.