Folk singer and political activist Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (1912–1967) was born on this day in Okemah, Oklahoma and named after the 28th President of the U.S.
"Life has got a habit of not standing hitched. You got to ride it like you find it. You got to change with it," he said.
As a young teenager, he left home and started his journey of the central southwest and the historic Oklahoma Dust Bowl, Texas, California, and New York, by thumb and freight train. He learned the guitar and wrote over 6,000 songs in his lifetime.
The traveling troubadour created passionate songs that celebrated social justice and patriotism during American's Great Depression. He chronicled American history and heartache with simple grace. His lyrics resonate with truth today.
His classic songs include Bound for Glory, Worried Man, The Sinking of the Reuben James, Nine Hundred Miles, and So Long, It's Been Good to Know You.
His most famous song, This Land is Your Land, was fingerpicked with achingly elegance and became the anthem of the civil-rights movement of the 1960s.
His guitar playing, basic folk melodies, and heartfelt lyrics inspired Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and many others. Guthrie once said, "I always called (the blues) just plain old being lonesome."
When asked where his inspiration came from, the folk legend said, "Everywhere you look. Out of books, magazines, daily papers, at the movies, along the streets, riding buses or trains, even flying along in an airplane, or in bed at night. Anywhere."
This land was made for you and me...