“The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” – Bob Dylan (October 23, 1963)


“‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll’ is a topical song written by the American musician Bob Dylan. Recorded on October 23, 1963, the song was released on Dylan’s 1964 album, The Times They Are a-Changin’ and gives a generally factual account of the killing of a 51-year-old African-American barmaid, Hattie Carroll, by the 24-year-old William Devereux ‘Billy’ Zantzinger (February 7, 1939 – January 3, 2009), a young man from a wealthy white tobacco farming family in Charles County, Maryland, and of his subsequent sentence to six months in a county jail, after being convicted of assault. The lyrics are a commentary on 1960s racism. When Carroll was killed in 1963, Charles County was still strictly segregated by race in public facilities such as restaurants, churches, theaters, doctor’s offices, buses and the county fair. The schools of Charles County were not integrated until 1967. The main incident described in the song took place in the early hours of February 9, 1963, at the white tie Spinsters’ Ball at the Emerson Hotel in Baltimore. Using a toy cane, Zantzinger drunkenly assaulted at least three of the Emerson Hotel workers: a bellboy, a waitress, and — at about 1:30 in the morning of the 9th — Carroll, a 51-year-old barmaid. Carroll ‘had borne 10 children’ (at least according to the song) and was president of a black social club. According to a 1991 story in The Washington Post, Carroll was the mother of nine children. Already drunk before he got to the Emerson Hotel that night, the 6’2″ Zantzinger had assaulted employees at Eager House, a prestigious Baltimore restaurant, with the same cane. The cane was a 25-cent toy. At the Spinsters’ Ball, he called a 30-year-old waitress a ‘nigger‘ and hit her with the cane; she fled the room in tears. … Zantzinger was convicted of manslaughter on August 28, 1963, and was not tried by a jury of peers but by a panel of three judges. The sentence was handed down on the same day that Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his ‘I Have a Dream‘ speech in Washington. Bob Dylan, aged 22 at that time, was one of the celebrities at the march and on the journey home to New York City he read about the conviction of Zantzinger and decided to write a protest song about the case. … He recorded it on October 23, 1963, when the trial was still relatively fresh news, and incorporated it into his live repertoire immediately, before releasing the studio version on January 13, 1964. …”
Wikipedia
Guardian: Life after a lonesome death
W – The Times They Are a-Changin’, amazon
YouTube: Bob Dylan – Steve Allen Interview & Performance of “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” (Live) 13:19, CBC Quest (Live) 27:19, Only A Pawn In Their Game (March On Washington 1963) 3:30

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