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Okemah in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma — The American South (West South Central)
 

Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma

Great American Music Story

 
 
Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 19, 2015
1. Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma Marker
Inscription.  Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie, composer of “This Land is Your Land” and known around the world as “The Dustbowl Balladeer,” was born in Okemah, Oklahoma on July 14, 1912. His parents, Charley and Nora Belle Guthrie, raised their five children here — Clara, Roy, Woody, George and Mary Jo — until the ravages of family misfortunes caused the family to relocate. Woody’s childhood experiences in Okemah would go on to influence his creativity and shape his sense of purpose. His autobiography, “Bound for Glory,” depicts his early years in Okemah. Writing over 3,000 songs in his lifetime, Guthrie’s lyrics exposed the hardships experienced by the thousands of families forced to migrate following the dust storms of the mid 1930’s, as well as the Great Depression, workers rights, civil rights, and the great promise of American Democracy. His songs have run around the world like a fast train on a well-oiled track, and have become the folk song standards of the nation. They are known and performed in many languages around the world. His iconic classics — among them “Pastures of Plenty,”
Marker detail: Woody Guthrie image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Woody Guthrie
“Tom Joad,” “I Ain’t Got No Home,” So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You,” “Vigilante Man,” “The Great Dust Storm,” “Dust Bowl Refugee,” “Deportee,” and “Pretty Boy Floyd” — all tell the story of people’s hardships as well as their hopes.

Woody Guthrie is considered by many to be the father of American folk music. In addition to bringing rural roots music to urban audiences, he popularized a new approach to songwriting. Topics such as social injustice, historic events, and political issues would become the foundation for musical creativity and expression. His influence has unprecedented reach, inspiring generations of musicians in every genre of music throughout the decades. Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, John Lennon, The Clash, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, and hundreds of others around the world were all influenced by the legacy of Woody Guthrie.

Presented to the Town of Okemah, Oklahoma — home of the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival — on March 10, 2012, in the year of Woody Guthrie’s centennial, by the Grammy Museum and the Woody Guthrie family, in appreciation of their tremendous efforts to preserve this great American music story for generations to come.
 
Erected 2012 by Grammy Museum,
Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 19, 2015
3. Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma Marker
and the Woody Guthrie Family.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainment. In addition, it is included in the Grammy Award Winners 🎶 series list.
 
Location. 35° 25.883′ N, 96° 18.243′ W. Marker is in Okemah, Oklahoma, in Okfuskee County. Marker is on West Broadway Street (Oklahoma Route 56) west of South 3rd Street, on the left when traveling west. Marker is located beside the sidewalk in front of a small park dedicated to hometown celebrity Woody Guthrie. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 313 West Broadway Street, Okemah OK 74859, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Also see . . .  Woody Guthrie (Wikipedia). Guthrie was brought up by middle-class parents in Okemah, Oklahoma, until he was 14. Guthrie learned folk and blues songs from his parents' friends. He married at 19, but with the advent of the dust storms that marked the Dust Bowl period, he left his wife and three children to join the thousands of Okies who were migrating to California looking for employment. (Submitted on January 27, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 19, 2015
4. Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma Marker
Woody Guthrie Statue image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 19, 2015
5. Woody Guthrie Statue
(located about 15 yards south of marker)
Literary Landmark Register Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 19, 2015
6. Literary Landmark Register Marker
(located in front of Woodie Guthrie statue)
Friends of Libraries U.S.A.
Literary Landmarks Register
Okemah, Oklahoma
Nestled in the Oklahoma Hills
and the birthplace on July 14, 1912 of
Woody Guthrie
the renowned poet and folk singer. The
hometown that influenced songs such as
the American classic This Land is Your Land
and scores of other songs, poems, and
books including his autobiographical novel
Bound for Glory, is designated a literary
landmark by Friends of Libraries U.S.A.
Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma, folio
October 5, 2001
Woody Guthrie Mural (<i>located near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 19, 2015
7. Woody Guthrie Mural (located near marker)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 27, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 27, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 42 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on January 27, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Mar. 2, 2021