Blooming where you’re planted song highlights: Deportee

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Deportee (Plane wreck at Los Gatos) by Woody Guthrie (1912-1967)

This song was chosen as part of our spring concert as a call to be aware of the implications of food industry choices and the impact these choices have on our society. Deportee has been covered many times and shows the appeal of the powerful imagery that Woody Guthrie was able to express. Originally written as a poem to protest the coverage of a 1948 plane crash that was carrying farm workers back to Mexico, it was put to music by Martin Hoffman, a school teacher, and later popularized by Pete Seeger. Woody felt that naming the crash victims in the media coverage of the event as only “deportees,” instead of by name, marginalized these people and showed how Americans and the media at the time viewed Mexican farm laborers. He also added another set of images to his poem to protest the government policy that subsidized the farm industry by paying to destroy crops in order to keep food prices high. This song is a great example of how songwriters put their protests to music to spread their messages. Here’s Arlo Guthrie singing this song:

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