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"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll"
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Fifty years ago today, a young Bob Dylan walked into a New York recording studio and recorded a new song he wrote, "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll". It would appear months later on Dylan’s iconic album, The Times They Are A-Changin’.
Dylan ripped the story of Hattie Carroll’s death straight from the news. In February 1963, William Zantzinger, a 24-year-old white tobacco-farmer from a prominent family in southern Maryland, was at a white-tie ball in Baltimore. According to reports at the time, he ordered a drink at the bar from Hattie Carroll, a black 51-year-old waitress. When Carroll asked him to wait a moment, Zantzinger became upset, striking Carroll on the head and shoulders with a cane. Carroll died the next morning.
We talk about the song and Hattie Carroll with Dylan biographer Howard Sounes, who wrote Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan; and, George Collins, who reported on the case for the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper.
You can read George Collins's reporting on the death of Hattie Carroll here.
You can listen to Howard Sounes documentary about the song here.