This is what Guy looked like when I first met him in Yellow Springs, lugging his guitar and a slide carousel.
Guy Carawan has died. I met Guy at Antioch in 1958. He was passing through and had recently returned from a trip to China. I was Activities Director (a student government position) and had a budget and was able to pay him an honorarium and set up a screening of his slides from Mao’s China in the old gym. it was packed. China was a mystery in those days. It was before Lucy Jarvis took NBC there. Even before Felix Greene had made his film or published his books. A slide show from this forbidden territory caused a big stir in middle Ohio. People came from Dayton and even Cincinnati. It was one of my biggest “activities”. Guy liked listening to my partner Mahlon’s banjo and took to it like a fish to water. It replaced his guitar as his signature instrument. Guy and me and Alice Foster (Gerrard) and I think it was Joan Goodman crammed into a tiny VW bug and headed south to Highlander one weekend from Yellow springs. Highlander was a civil rights training center where Rosa Parks, Septima Clark, CT Vivian and many other leaders met and held strategy workshops. I had been there many times while in high school in Chattanooga and wanted to share the experience with my Antioch friends. Guy had been there in 1953 and was anxious to see it again. We had a great time. It wasn’t a workshop weekend, so we spent time listening to Myles Horton telling us mountain stories and helping the cook Dodie shell peas to freeze. And of course Dodie and Guy traded songs. Later that very month Highlander was raided and shut down for “selling liquor without a license” because of the donation can near the six packs in the frig. Grundy Country was dry, even though The University of the South down the road was the drinkingest college in the country. The informer apparently was that same Dodie, the cook. As years passed, I saw Guy several times in New York whenever he came for a concert and once I helped him edit a video of a Highlander music workshop, Come All You Coal Miners, which had been shot on reel to reel tape. We edited at EAI at their place on 5th ave. I last saw Guy and Candie, his wife, at the New Market Highlander when I was there for a media activism workshop. Guy leaves many recorded songs, several books (my favorite is “Ain’t you gotta Right to the Tree of Life?”about the Georgia Sea Islands) and a lovely tape by his daughter Heather, The Telling Takes Me Home.