Joe Hill (1879 - 1915)
Joe Hill, born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund in Gävle, Sweden, and also known as Joseph Hillström was a Swedish-American labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, also known as the "Wobblies"). Hill, as an immigrant worker frequently facing unemployment and underemployment, became a popular song writer and cartoonist for the radical union. In 1914, John G. Morrison, a Salt Lake City area grocer and former policeman, and his son were shot and killed by two men. The same evening, Hill arrived at a doctor's office with a gunshot wound, and briefly mentioned a fight over a woman. Yet Hill was reluctant to explain further, and he was later accused of the grocery store murders on the basis of his injury. Hill was convicted of the murders in a controversial trial. Following an unsuccessful appeal, political debates, and international calls for clemency from high profile people and workers' organizations, Hill was executed in November, 1915. After his death, he was memorialized by several folk songs. His life and death have inspired books and poetry.
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