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Saving the past for the future

May 23, 2002|BY KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

Joe Glazer, 83, is a singer, collector and creator of labor songs. His autobiography, "Labor's Troubadour," tells how Glazer spent more than 50 years singing for union representation in the United States and more than 60 countries.

Glazer will sing in Charles Town, W.Va., Monday, May 27, at the Old Opera House Theatre. He'll sing a "bunch of songs about coal miners," he says, and a new version of "Don't Tear It Down," a song he originally wrote as part of the effort to save the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C.

He wrote the new version for the Jefferson County Jail Building in Charles Town.

The Monday concert is sponsored by Jefferson County Preservation Alliance to Save our Heritage, ( JC PASH) the organization leading efforts to keep the county-owned 1917 structure which adjoins the historic Jefferson County Courthouse from being torn down.

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An appeal is slated to be heard by the West Virginia Supreme Court early next month, says Carol Gallant, JC PASH president.

The Jefferson County jail held the coal miners who were tried in April 1922 following what PASH calls the West Virginia Coal Mine Wars of 1918-1921, during which workers struggled to unionize.

The jail is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Labor Heritage Foundation's Inventory of American Labor Landmarks, Gallant says, leading, in part, to Glazer's involvement.

"Don't Tear It Down" tells the jail's story:

"They arrested striking miners

And locked them in this jail,

They arrested them for treason

Wouldn't let them out on bail.

If these walls could talk, you bet your life

You'd hear a wondrous tale

That's why I tell the world ... don't tear it down."

The jail is an important part of history - not just labor history, Glazer says. "People have to be reminded," he adds.

Music, Heritage & History

A Memorial Day Celebration with Joe Glazer

Monday, May 27, 7 p.m.

Old Opera House

204 N. George St.

Charles Town, W.Va.

Pre-concert Sidewalk Social begins at 5 p.m. on Liberty Street, next to Old Opera House

Tickets cost $10 for adults, $3 for children. the maximum per family is $20.

The concert is sponsored by Jefferson County Preservation Alliance to Save Our Heritage.

For information, call 1-304-535-5520.

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