March 29, 2009

Folklorist Green dead at age 91

Folklorist Archie Green, known for his study of the working class culture, reportedly has died of kidney failure in San Francisco at the age of 91, a son said.

Derek Green said his father died at home March 22, The New York Times reported.

Green used the term laborlore to refer to his persistent study of working class language, music, art and customs. As part of his efforts to honor the working class, Green lobbied Congress to found the American Folklife Center in 1876.

University of North Carolina folklorist Robert Cantwell said Green, a native of Canada, was concerned with proving that working-class people were not simple cogs in an industrial machine, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Archie said, 'Working men aren't dummies.' I heard him say that many times, Cantwell said of Green, who died last Sunday of kidney and heart failure. That struck me as the essence of his thinking.

The Library of Congress, which houses the Folklife Center, honored Green with a Living Legend award in 2007, the Times said.

Besides his son Derek, Green is survived by his wife Louanne, two other children, a sister and four grandchildren.