|THE BALLAD OF LAURA LAW|
|from Women's Work
Laura was a labor leader and activist in the turbulent struggles between lumber mill owners and workers. Murdered in 1940, her killer was never found.
©Linda Allen 1986
She was born in Finland in l914
Then she came to America, to the town of Aberdeen
Where the logging was good, and the timber boss, king
And beware to those who oppose them
In this Washington town Laura lived, and she grew
To a seeker of justice, there was much work to do
And she married Dick Law, a trade unionist who
Some called commie, a red, and a traitor
For in Grays Harbor County a war was declared
Between bosses and labor, and any who dared
Take a stand were called fascists or commies,
And fear was the one thing the town held in common
Laura's neighbor recalled the sweet smile in her voice
As she talked of her son, her three-year-old boy
How she organized marches of the unemployed
To the steps of the city hall
The reporter then asked, "But was she a red?"
"She cared little for politics", her neighbor said
"She just thought that the poor folks should have enough bread
No she wasn't a red, just a Baptist"
In nineteen and forty, a cold winter's night
Laura sat with her needlework next to the light
When a shadow fell over the linen so white
And terror and death filled the room
Her mother found Laura, her screams filled the air
As she held her child's body, once gentle and fair
With papers all scattered, and blood everywhere
"My God, what has happened here?"
Who killed Laura Law - our ally, our friend?
Some blamed fascists or reds, no one knew in the end
When suspicion and hatred are sown to the wind
The harvest is riot and murder
In Aberdeen town the house still remains
All faded and still in the cool, cleansing rain
Some walk by, and remember the grief, and the shame
And still wonder who killed Laura Law?
Repeat verse 1