In this Aug. 22, 2013, photo, a car drives by a sign welcoming people to Okemah, the boyhood home of Woody Guthrie, in Okemah, Okla. After decades of bitterness toward Guthrie over his perceived leftist politics in town and in Oklahoma, Okemah now celebrates him with an annual music festival. Plans are underway to rebuild his childhood home on or near the original site. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
OKEMAH, Okla. (AP) — When Woody Guthrie’s dilapidated boyhood home was ordered torn down in the late 1970s, the demolition reflected the strained relationship between conservative Oklahoma and the native son famous for his folk singing and progressive politics.
Those tensions persisted for more than a generation, but attitudes about Guthrie have slowly softened. Now developers working with the blessing of Guthrie’s relatives have announced plans to rebuild his 1860s-era boyhood home in Okemah, a time-worn town of 3,300 people desperately seeking tourism dollars.
“If you were to put a Mount Rushmore of American music here in the Midwest, the first two artists on it would be Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie,” said Johnny Buschardt, a spokesman for the project. “Without Woody, there wouldn’t be a Bob Dylan or a Bruce Springsteen.”
Best known for the song “This Land is Your Land,” Guthrie came of age during the Great Depression and later embraced left-wing politics, including for a time some tenets of communism. By weaving social Login to read more