Sunday, November 20, 2011
One of North Dakota’s most colorful and outspoken public figures, Henry Martinson was a Socialist, a Democrat, organizer of the state’s Nonpartisan League, and Commissioner of Agriculture and Labor among other contributions to the state’s fiery political landscape in the early 1900s. He published three prose pieces about the North Dakota labor movement.
And, Henry wrote poetry. Considering his vibrant Socialist and controversial legacy this eight-line poem of his might be especially enlightening.
Four Freedoms written on a scroll
For all the world to read;
No more want and no more fear
Proclaims the flaming creed.
No prophets word will be erased,
no dreamer’s voice be stilled
No tyranny will mock your God
With freedom’s creed fulfilled.
Henry Martinson was named poet laureate of North Dakota in 1975. He died on this date in 1981 and is buried in Bismarck.
Dakota Datebook written by Steve Stark
Martinson, Henry, R, , (1958) Old Trails and New, self published