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Woody Guthrie Denounced Donald Trump’s Dad in Moving Lyrics

By Harriet Staff


Woody Guthrie’s landlord was none other than Donald Trump’s dad! Their relationship made for some interesting lyrics, reports The New Republic. “Guthrie lived for two years in a Brooklyn apartment the elder Trump owned, but grew upset at the racist policies that the real estate developer used to exclude blacks from his property.”

Writing in Raw Story, [scholar Will] Kaufman quotes some song lyrics Guthrie wrote to denounce “old man Trump”:

I suppose

Old Man Trump knows

Just how much

Racial Hate

he stirred up

In the bloodpot of human hearts

When he drawed

That color line

Here at his

Eighteen hundred family project

As Kaufman notes, both Fred Trump and his son would be investigated by the government for allegedly racist leasing practices.

Gawker has more from Kaufman himself:

In 1979, 12 years after Guthrie had succumbed to the death sentence of Huntington’s Disease, Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett published a two-part exposé about Fred and Donald Trump’s real estate empire.

Barrett devoted substantial attention to the cases brought against the Trumps in 1973 and 1978 by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department. A major charge was that “racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents” had “created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity.” The most damning evidence had come from Trump’s own employees. As Barrett summarizes:

According to court records, four superintendents or rental agents confirmed that applications sent to the central [Trump] office for acceptance or rejection were coded by race. Three doormen were told to discourage blacks who came seeking apartments when the manager was out, either by claiming no vacancies or hiking up the rents. A super said he was instructed to send black applicants to the central office but to accept white applications on site. Another rental agent said that Fred Trump had instructed him not to rent to blacks. Further, the agent said Trump wanted “to decrease the number of black tenants” already in the development “by encouraging them to locate housing elsewhere.”
Guthrie had written that white supremacists like the Trumps were “way ahead of God” because

God dont know much about any color lines.

Guthrie hardly meant this as a compliment. But the Trumps – father and son alike – might well have been arrogant enough to see it as one. After all, if you find yourself “way ahead of God” in any kind of a race, then what else must God be except, well, “a loser”? And we know what Donald Trump thinks about losers.

One thing is certain: Woody Guthrie had no time for “Old Man Trump.”

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Posted in Poetry News on Friday, January 22nd, 2016 by Harriet Staff.