• Michael Laxer

Woody Guthrie b. July 14



The great American leftist and folk singer Woody Guthrie was born July 14, 1912.


His classic This Land Is Your Land was written as a critical response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America". Here are its original lyrics from 1940 that include verses four and six about private property and hunger.


This land is your land, this land is my land

From California to the Staten New York Island,

From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters,

God blessed America for me.

[This land was made for you and me.]


As I went walking that ribbon of highway

And saw above me that endless skyway,

And saw below me the golden valley, I said:

God blessed America for me.

[This land was made for you and me.]


I roamed and rambled, and followed my footsteps

To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts,

And all around me, a voice was sounding:

God blessed America for me.

[This land was made for you and me.]


Was a big high wall there that tried to stop me

A sign was painted said: Private Property,

But on the back side it didn't say nothing —

God blessed America for me.

[This land was made for you and me.]


When the sun come shining, then I was strolling

In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling;

The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting:

God blessed America for me.

[This land was made for you and me.]


One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple

By the Relief Office I saw my people —

As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if

God blessed America for me.

[This land was made for you and me.]


The official version is now:


This land is your land, this land is my land

From California to the New York island,

From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters;

This land was made for you and me.


As I was walking that ribbon of highway

I saw above me that endless skyway;

I saw below me that golden valley;

This land was made for you and me.


I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps

To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;

And all around me a voice was sounding;

This land was made for you and me.


When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,

And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,

As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:

This land was made for you and me.


As I went walking I saw a sign there,

And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."

But on the other side it didn't say nothing.

That side was made for you and me.


In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,

By the relief office I seen my people;

As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking

Is this land made for you and me?


Nobody living can ever stop me,

As I go walking that freedom highway;

Nobody living can ever make me turn back

This land was made for you and me.


Here Woody performs the song:





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