This beautifully told oral history gives us Handcox in his own words, recounting a journey that began in the Deep South and went on to shape the labor music tradition.
Michael Honey (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Tacoma) has partnered with cinematographer and filmmaker Errol Webber to create a documentary about the life of Methodist minister and civil rights activist Rev. James Lawson. He also published a book on an influential folk singer and labor organizer, Sharecroppers' Troubadour: John L. Handcox, the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union, and the African American Song Tradition (Palgrave Studies in Oral History, 2013).
The book was supported by a 2011-2012 Society of Scholars fellowship from the Simpson Center. Michael, the Fred and Dorothy Haley Professor of Humanities, also received a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship that year.
On the book:
Folk singer and labor organizer John Handcox was born to illiterate sharecroppers, but went on to become one of the most beloved folk singers of the prewar labor movement. This beautifully told oral history gives us Handcox in his own words, recounting a journey that began in the Deep South and went on to shape the labor music tradition.
On the film, Love & Solidarity: James Lawson and Nonviolence in Search for Workers' Rights:
Love & Solidarity is an exploration of nonviolence and organizing through the life and teachings of Rev. James Lawson. Lawson provided crucial strategic guidance while working with Martin Luther King, Jr., in southern freedom struggles and the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968. Moving to Los Angeles in 1974, Lawson continued his nonviolence organizing in multi-racial community and worker coalitions that have helped to remake the LA labor movement.
See a trailer for the film:
Michael has also been invited to give a series of addresses based on the works, including to the Oral History Association, Southern Historical Association, the American Studies Association, Arkansas State University, the University of Arkansas, Indiana State University, University of Memphis, the National Civil Rights Museum, Michigan State University, and Florida State University.