The Project

Photo of archival material of T-Bone Slim's column on Industrial Worker.
T-Bone Slim column in Industrial Worker, June 28, 1930. Click the image to view it in context. Available at: libcom.org.

T-Bone Slim and the transnational poetics of the migrant left in North America -research project explores the transnational poetics and networks of the migrant left in North America through the unique character of T-Bone Slim. Matti Valentininpoika Huhta (1882–1942), better known under his pseudonym T-Bone Slim, was one of the most seminal figures in the US Labor movement. He was a legendary hobo, songwriter, poet, and columnist in the periodicals of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World).

T-Bone Slim’s writings went on to inspire the Chicago surrealist movement and the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. However, he stayed out of the limelight and his identity remained as a mystery for most of his readers. By tracing the life and networks of T-Bone Slim, and contextualizing him within the social, cultural, and political movements he operated within, we gain important, new insights on the frictions, boundaries and alternative possibilities in working-class migrant communities. 

Read more about our research here and from our blog (opens on May 10, 2022). Learn more about T-Bone Slim here.