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Song of weekend: 50th anniversary of lonesome death of Hattie Carroll

Published February 8, 2013 11:10 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the tragic, February 9, 1963 death of a 51-year-old barmaid at the white-tie Spinsters' Ball, a social event held at Baltimore's Emerson Hotel, which was immortalized in Bob Dylan's moving "The Loneseom Death of Hattie Carroll"

Dylan's song, largely based on news accounts of the beating and subsequent light sentencing, condemns the court for excessive leniency, and attributes the relatively light sentence to an atmosphere of racial injustice.

The song was recorded in October 1963 and released on the "The Times They Are a-Changing" album issued in January 1964. The 1963 March on Washington, scene of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech, occurred on August 28 – the same day as the sentencing of William Zantzinger, who died in 2009.