Folklorist, Labor Activist Archie Green Dies

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Archie Green encouraged singers to record the tales of coalminers and other working men and women. Hazen Robert Walker hide caption

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One of the pillars of American folklore has died. Archie Green was an author, teacher, folklorist and shipwright. He was also one of the driving forces behind the creation of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Green died Sunday at his home in San Francisco. He was 91.

Green moved comfortably through the halls of Congress and the halls of ivy, but he preferred life on scaffolding or in a welder's shed or machine shop. Work was where his heart was — doing it and convincing others to document what they did. He coined the term "laborlore" and actively encouraged filmmakers, steel workers and pile drivers, among many others, to keep the stories of working people alive.

Green's infectious enthusiasm and firm belief that labor culture had a place in what he called "a marble mansion" was largely credited with convincing Congress to pass the American Folklife Preservation act of 1976. It established the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.



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