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In another newly discovered song, Woody Guthrie continues his assault on ‘Old Man Trump’

Earlier this year, I wrote about a cache of bitter writings by Woody Guthrie that I had discovered while conducting research for a book on the balladeer.

The invectives were directed against a man Guthrie had dubbed his “worst enemy”: Fred C. Trump, the landlord of the Beach Haven apartment complex in Brooklyn, where the Guthrie family lived from 1950 to 1952. Guthrie especially loathed the housing project’s de facto color line. (“Beach Haven looks like heaven / Where no black ones come to roam! / No, no no! Old Man Trump! Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!”)

This summer, Judy Bell – for 50 years the indefatigable custodian of Guthrie’s songs at TRO-Essex music publishers – told me she had found in her files a typewritten lyric sheet of Guthrie’s. Yet another broadside fired at Donald Trump’s father, the discovery comes on the heels of a recent in-depth New York Times article that details the “long history of racial bias” at the properties developed and owned by Trump Management.

‘Trump made a tramp out of me’

Like so many memorable folk songs, Guthrie’s seven-verse diatribe is unashamedly simple, repetitive and formulaic. It describes the songwriter’s outrage over the exploitative rents charged at a publicly funded housing project meant for war veterans like himself:

Mister Trump made a tramp out of me; Mister Trump has made a tramp out of me; Paid him alla my bonds and savin's To move into his Beach Haven; Yes, Trump has made a tramp out of me. read more

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