Legendary Labor Singer/Organizer Joe Hill Gets Immortalized in San Pedro
February 2, 2017
The suspense didn't last long for about 100 union workers, folksingers and fellow travelers who gathered on a recent Saturday morning at Liberty Hill Plaza in San Pedro to celebrate a hero of America's class wars. A green, crumpled tarp covered a shimmering bronze tribute to labor's troubadour: Joe Hill, an Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizer and singer/poet who walked the city's streets more than a century ago.
After a lifting tribute to Hill by longshoreman laureate Jerry Brady, the tarp came down to unveil the 8-foot-wide, 3.5-foot-high plaque—the only public memorial specifically dedicated to the singer in the entire United States. Based on an original drawing by Suzanne Matsumiya, the graphic designer for the city's Random Length News alt-weekly, it features Hill holding a guitar, with the logo of the "Wobblies," as IWW members are popularly known, over his head as if a halo.