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John Henry : A Man of Labor

Album Description

Growing up in Western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, I loved to learn about the Tall Tale Legends especially the legend of the tunnel-railroad building man, John Henry. I especially remember learning the song that told the story of this man of labor. It only seems fitting on Labor Day I create an album of the legend of John Henry. Happy Labor Day!

Blog about Labor Day

John Henry

Teaching Notes

Tells about the song

Reference note

Contributor Names: Kennedy, Stetson (Collector)
Halpert, Herbert, 1911-2000 (Collector)
Halpert, Herbert, 1911-2000 (Speaker)
Hazelhurst, Harold B. (Speaker)
Hazelhurst, Harold B. (Performer)
Created / Published: Jacksonville, Florida
Subject Headings: -  African Americans
-  Work songs
-  Songs
-  United States -- Florida -- Duval County -- Jacksonville
Genre: Songs
Notes: -  The singer, born in Georgia and reared in Florida, learned the song from workers driving spikes when a waterboy, aged 15-16, on a logging camp railroad in middle Florida. The song always had the same tune but the verses would vary.
-  Performance Note: "John Henry" (vocals) performed by Harold B. Hazelhurst at Federal Music Project Office, Jacksonville, Florida, on June 18, 1939.
Repository: American Folklife Center
Digital Id:

'John Henry An American Legend'

Teaching Notes

Story in video

Reference note

'I do not own the rights to this story. Please purchase your own copy if you haven't already from the following link:

Fair Use Act - 17 U.S.C. § 107, Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

*Copyright information*
All material is owned by the creators (authors, illustrators, publishers) displayed or mentioned in this video. Reading this storybook was done under the Fair Use of a copyrighted work for entertainment.'

Legend and Statue of John Henry

"John Henry"

Link: https:

Reference note

Summary: The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress challenged musical artists to interpret material from its unparalleled archive of ethnographic recordings of traditional folk music. Artists were asked to put their own spin on these archival treasures, and to perform them at a special showcase during the Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City in 2018. The showcase was recorded for this webcast. This video features Chicago singer-songwriter Joe Jencks performing "John Henry" based on various versions of that song recorded at Parchman Penitentiary in Mississippi by Alan Lomax in 1959.