Owen Clayton was recently awarded a Newberry Library Short-Term Fellowship to research the hobo poet, songwriter, and newspaper columnist T-Bone Slim (real name Matti Valentinepoika Huhta). Slim was a prominent member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), or Wobblies, from the 1920s to the early 1940s, and is probably their second-most famous songwriter behind Joe Hill. His song ‘The Popular Wobbly’ has been covered by many musicians, including Pete Seeger. For more on Slim’s writings, check out Owen’s article in the new issue of the Journal of Working-Class Studies.
Owen has also been involved in filming a documentary (which will hopefully be out in 2020) about Slim with John Westmoreland, a professional musician who also happens to be Slim’s great nephew, along with documentarian Bruce dePyssler, and Slim’s great granddaughter Vanessa Lynn.
Below is a slideshow of John Westmoreland presenting at LAWCHA’s 2019 annual conference and on the set.