Duke Augustus: Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) by Woody Guthrie. This song was chosen from Duchess Susanna’s copy of Rise Up Singing . This poem was written by Guthrie in response to the 1948 plane crash. Over 60 years later, we are still fighting the same battle. Ten years latter, Martin Hoffman wrote the music. Pete Seeger and Woody’s son, Arlo, have popularized the song. Unfortunately, the racist attitudes in this song are as common today as they were when they were written 60 years ago.
This is video is a little shaky, but worth it to hear Arlo explain about how his father wrote the song:
The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, “They are just deportees”
- Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) song lyrics at woodyguthrie.org
- Check-Six.com – The “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos” Canyon (includes full passenger and crew list)
- A description of the DC3 aircraft crash site at picacho.org (includes text of The New York Times article)
- Newspaper report on the crash from The New York Times