Give Gifts Top Banner

Sections
Home » Issues » Stand Up to Corporate Power » Americans Who Tell the Truth :: Utah Phillips

Get a FREE Issue. Yes! I want to try YES! Magazine

Nonprofit. Independent. Subscriber-supported. DONATE. How you can support our work.

YES! by Email
Join over 78,000 others already signed up for FREE YES! news.
[SAMPLE]
link

The YES! ChicoBag(R). Full-size tote that fits in your pocket!

 

Americans Who Tell the Truth :: Utah Phillips

Document Actions

Logo
spacer
Edward Abbey thumbnail picspacerMuhammad Ali thumbnail picspacerSusan B. Anthony thumbnail pic
AbbeyspacerAlispacerAnthony
spacer
Ella Baker thumbnail picspacerJames Baldwin thumbnail picspacerDavid Barsamian thumbnail pic
BakerspacerBaldwinspacerBarsamian
spacer
Medea Benjamin thumbnail picspacerWendell Berry thumbnail picspacerGrace Lee Boggs thumbnail pic
BenjaminspacerBerryspacerBoggs
spacer
Judy Bonds thumbnail picspacerFather Roy Bourgeois thumbnail picspacerBetty Burkes thumbnail pic
BondsspacerBourgeoisspacerBurkes
spacer
Smedley Butler thumbnail picspacerRachel Carson thumbnail picspacerMajora Carter thumbnail pic
ButlerspacerCarsonspacerCarter
Cesar Chavez thumbnail picspacerShirley Chisholm thumbnail picspacerNoam Chomsky thumbnail pic
ChavezspacerChisholmspacerChomsky
spacer
William Sloane Coffin thumbnail picspacerRachel Corrie thumbnail picspacerOssie Davis thumbnail pic
CoffinspacerCorriespacerDavis
spacer
Eugene Debs thumbnail picspacerFrederick Douglass thumbnail picspacerW.E.B. DuBois thumbnail pic
DebsspacerDouglassspacerDuBois
spacer
Marian Wright Edelman thumbnail picspacerDwight Eisenhower thumbnail picspacerRalph Ellison thumbnail pic
EdelmanspacerEisenhowerspacerEllison
spacer
Paul Farmer thumbnail picspacerRoss Gelbspan thumbnail picspacerStan Goff thumbnail pic
FarmerspacerGelbspanspacerGoff
spacer
Emma Goldman thumbnail picspacerAmy Goodman thumbnail picspacerGranny D (Doris Haddock) thumbnail pic
GoldmanspacerGoodmanspacerGranny D
spacer
Richard Grossman thumbnail picspacerWoody Guthrie thumbnail picspacerFannie Lou Hamer thumbnail pic
GrossmanspacerGuthriespacerHamer
spacer
Harry Hay thumbnail picspacerJim Hightower thumbnail picspacerLangston Hughes thumbnail pic
HayspacerHightowerspacerHughes
spacer
Pat Humphries thumbnail picspacerZora Neale Hurston thumbnail picspacerMolly Ivins thumbnail pic
HumphriesspacerHurstonspacerIvins
spacer
Derrick Jensen thumbnail picspacerMother Jones thumbnail picspacerVan Jones thumbnail pic
JensenspacerJonesspacerJones
spacer
Helen Keller thumbnail picspacerKathy Kelly thumbnail picspacerMarjorie Kelly thumbnail pic
KellerspacerKellyspacerKelly
spacer
Robert F. Kennedy thumbnail picspacerMartin Luther King thumbnail picspacerJonathan Kozol thumbnail pic
KennedyspacerKingspacerKozol
spacer
Dennis Kucinich thumbnail picspacerWinona LaDuke thumbnail picspacerDorothea Lange thumbnail pic
KucinichspacerLaDukespacerLange
spacer
Frances Moore Lappe thumbnail picspacerAbraham Lincoln thumbnail picspacerJoanne Macy thumbnail pic
LappéspacerLincolnspacerMacy
spacer
Perry Mann thumbnail picspacerNatasha Mayers thumbnail picspacerBill McKibben thumbnail pic
MannspacerMayersspacerMcKibben
spacer
Cynthia McKinney thumbnail picspacerArthur Miller thumbnail picspacerBill Moyers thumbnail pic
McKinneyspacerMillerspacerMoyers
spacer
spacer
John Muir thumbnail picspacerCarlos Munoz Jnr. thumbnail picspacerRalph Nader thumbnail pic
MuirspacerMunozspacerNader
spacer
Scott Nearing thumbnail picspacerRosa Parks thumbnail picspacerUtah Phillips thumbnail pic
NearingspacerParksspacerPhillips
spacer
Jeanette Rankin thumbnail picspacerPaul Robeson thumbnail picspacerEleanor Roosevelt thumbnail pic
RankinspacerRobesonspacerRoosevelt
spacer
David Rovics thumbnail picspacerPete Seeger thumbnail picspacerCindy Sheehan thumbnail pic
RovicsspacerSeegerspacerSheehan
spacer
Lateefah Simon thumbnail picspacerSamantha Smith thumbnail picspacerElizabeth Cady Stanton thumbnail pic
SimonspacerSmithspacerStanton
spacer
Emma Tenayuca thumbnail picspacerStuds Terkel thumbnail picspacerHelen Thomas thumbnail pic
TenayucaspacerTerkelspacerThomas
spacer
Hugh Thompson thumbnail picspacerHenry David Thoreau thumbnail picspacerSojourner Truth thumbnail pic
ThompsonspacerThoreauspacerTruth
spacer
Harriet Tubman thumbnail picspacerMark Twain thumbnail picspacerAlice Waters thumbnail pic
TubmanspacerTwainspacerWaters
spacer
Ida B. Wells thumbnail picspacerPaul Wellstone thumbnail picspacerWalt Whitman thumbnail pic
WellsspacerWellstonespacerWhitman
spacer
Judy Wicks thumbnail picspacerJody Williams thumbnail picspacerTerry Tempest Williams thumbnail pic
WicksspacerWilliamsspacerWilliams
spacer
Diane Wilson thumbnail picspacerTilly Woodward thumbnail picspacerAnn Wright thumbnail pic
WilsonspacerWoodwardspacerWright
spacer
Malcolm X thumbnail picspacerChief Joseph Hinmton Yalektit thumbnail picspacerLily Yeh thumbnail pic
Malcolm XspacerYalektitspacerYeh
spacer
Howard Zinn thumbnail picspacer
Zinnspacer
spacer
spacer
Robert Shetterly's portrait of Utah Phillips
spacer
“Kids don't have a little brother working in the coal mine, they don't have a little sister coughing her lungs out in the looms of the big mill towns of the Northeast. Why? Because we organized; we broke the back of the sweatshops in this country; we have child labor laws. Those were not benevolent gifts from enlightened management. They were fought for, they were bled for, they were died for by working people, by people like us. Kids ought to know that. That's why I sing these songs. That's why I tell these stories, dammit. No root, no fruit!”
spacer
Bruce “Utah” Phillips
spacer
69 of 100
spacer

Songwriter, Storyteller, Humorist, Philosopher
(1935–2008)

When Bruce Phillips was released from the U.S. Army in 1959, after the Korean War, he felt angry, used, and lost. He lived as a hobo for several years, hopping trains and listening to tales from people who had been “spit out” by industrial society. From them, he says, “I got a vision of who I really was and where I came from, something I never got in school.”

But Phillips found more than that: In his home state of Utah, he met Ammon Hennacy, who introduced him to the Catholic Worker movement and to the principles of both nonviolence and anarchy. As a result, Phillips vowed to lay down “the weapons of privilege” and to take personal responsibility each day for making the world a better place. And in Saratoga Springs, New York, he claimed his place in what he calls “the great folk music scare of the 1960s,” adopting “Utah” as his stage name.

Four decades later, slightly slowed by heart disease, Utah Phillips packs cross-generational audiences into venues across the United States. His songs and stories, edgy with pain and piercing humor, tell of working-class and homeless folk, of war and peace. His recordings include I've Got to Know (1991); the four-CD Starlight on the Rails: A Songbook (2005); and, in collaboration with Ani DiFranco, The Past Didn't Go Anywhere (1996), and Fellow Worker (1999), nominated for a Grammy Award. A renowned raconteur, Phillips hosted a weekly National Public Radio program, Loafer's Glory: The Hobo Jungle of the Mind, until 2002.

Committed to taking individual responsibility instead of assigning it to elected officials, Phillips reluctantly voted for the first time in 2004—“to stand in for one of the victims of the kind of brutality that Washington brings to the world.” Then he returned to his own mission: offering levity to lift our souls, compassion to join our hands, and honesty to help us see how we must act.

spacer
See the full set of Robert Shetterly's portraits at www.americanswhotellthetruth.org.

Tools for Teaching: see the acompanying curriculum materials with suggestions on how to use the portraits and biographies of these American truth-tellers in your classroom.
spacer

The Folk Rock On: Utah Phillips

spacer
spacer
BUY THE BOOK AND GREETING CARDS FROM THE YES! STORE:
spacer
Americans Who Tell the Truth ::

Robert Shetterly's series highlights Americans past and present whose dignity, courage, and honesty have shaped this country.

This beautiful coffee-table book is an eloquent collection of portraits and stirring words of these brave citizens from all walks of life.
spacer
Card Sets ::

A special YES! selection of Greeting Cards from the series in sets of 8 (with envelopes).

Sets feature high quality prints of the portraits, complete with quotes and biographies.

Posters also available from the artist.
spacer
spacer
Donate buttonHelp support our work
Become a Dedicated Friend of YES! and we'll send you a FREE copy of Americans Who Tell the Truth and three cards with YES! heroes.
Email Signup
Stand Up to Corporate Power
Comment on this article

How to add a commentCommenting Policy

comments powered by Disqus


You won’t see any commercial ads in YES!, in print or on this website.
That means, we rely on support from our readers.

||   SUBSCRIBE    ||   GIVE A GIFT   ||   DONATE   ||
Independent. Nonprofit. Subscriber-supported.




Issue Footer

Personal tools