Don't mourn, organize!
"Don't mourn, organize!" is an expression often incorrectly supposed to be the last words spoken by activist and songwriter Joe Hill, who was falsely charged with murder and executed in Utah in 1915. In truth, the expression is part of a telegram sent to Bill Haywood, in which Joe wrote, "Goodbye, Bill, I die like a true blue rebel. Don't waste any time mourning. Organize!" It wasn't Joe's last telegram; he sent another in which he implored Haywood, "Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the state line to be buried? I don't want to be found dead in Utah."
Since the death of Hill, the phrase has been used both in association with other labour leaders' deaths and on the occasion of severe defeats. It is particularly popular within the Industrial Workers of the World.
The phrase is popular enough in its association with Joe Hill and the labour movement that it was the title of a music compilation made in 1990 and released by Smithsonian Folkways. The full title is Don't Mourn — Organize!: Songs of Labor Songwriter Joe Hill.
- Roughneck: The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood, Peter Carlson, 1983, pp. 235.
- "Zinn: Don't mourn, organize!". The Boston Globe. January 29, 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-14.