A labor song and protest folk song about the murder of U.S. labor movement union organizer Fannie Sellins and steelworker Joe Starzelski by Allegheny Steel gunmen in August 1919, nearly 100 years ago.
"I worked in the steel mill twelve hours a day
With no time for play and very low pay
So I went out on strike in 1919
And let me now tell of the murder I seen."
Fannie Sellins she worked for the United Mine Workers
She went `round the country and built-up the union
In three U.S. Steel mills, she did organize
And thousands of steelworkers were soon mobilized.
Faithful to labor's cause
She fought against greed and gain
Not flinching when the bullets came
Workers recall her name.
"I saw Fannie Sellins outside the millyard
Of Allegheny Steel in West Natoma
The company gunmen, now deputies,
With their guns were beating Old Worker Starzelski.
I saw Fannie Sellins beg the gunmen to cease
Their merciless beating of Old Man Starzelski
Then a company manager knocked Fannie Sellins to the ground
And I saw her try to flee to a nearby friend." (chorus)
"`Kill the Red woman!', the gunmen did shout
While they threw Starzelski's body in a truck
I then saw the gunmen drag Fannie Sellins to the truck
Where one deputy beat her to death.
In front of my eyes and a crowd of people
Allegheny Steel's deputies crushed Fannie
Her Killer we named again and again
But no one was punished for Fannie Sellins' death." (chorus)