Anne Feeney Memorial Next Wednesday May 1st

The Heinz History Museum is marking May Day, or International Workers Day, with a panel to honor labor folk singer Anne Feeney, who died from COVID in 2021.

Feeney’s work rallying labor and feminist causes is being featured in a new exhibit at the museum dubbed “A Woman’s Place: How Women Shaped Pittsburgh”. 

Her busy touring schedule, which included playing for strikers on picket lines, earned her the moniker “the Mother Jones of Pittsburgh ”.

The panel at Heinz History Center will begin at noon on May 1. Further details were not yet available.

“Her grandfather actually fought on the picket lines with Mother Jones in West Virginia,” her son Dan Berlin said. “He was a labor organizer; William Patrick Feeney and mom always drew a lot of inspiration from him and from that lineage”. 

Now, school children will be able to learn about Feeney when they visit the Heinz History Center, which excites her own adult children. 

“I think she’d be thrilled. She has always felt that her work is very much part of a movement, a movement that started well before her and we’ll carry on well after her,” he said. “So I think she’d be really, really pleased to be represented in this exhibit hall set up”. 

In addition to the event at the Heinz History Center, her son and daughter are hosting a Memorial Concert at 6 p.m..

The show will feature Liz Berlin of Rusted Root, Emma’s Revolution, the Pittsburgh Labor Choir, Evan Greer, Mike Stout, and more.

“People all around the world are still singing my mom’s songs, and there are so many people who loved her who haven’t gotten a chance yet to celebrate her in-person, because of the pandemic,” said Amy Sue Berlin, Feeney’s daughter, who is organizing the event with Greer, who was Feeney’s friend and touring partner.

 “My mom loved May Day, so we couldn’t think of a better way to honor her than with a big concert here in Pittsburgh, the city she loved.”

“We couldn’t do anything, when she passed away during COVID times,” she said. “Now, we’re finally able to get together and be in person to give her the party that she deserves to have and to honor her the way she would want to be honored”. 

The show will begin at 6 p.m. on May 1 at Mr. Smalls Theater, 400 Lincoln Ave, Millvale. The show is free, but there is a suggested donation of $25, which will go to the Anne Feeney Hellraiser fund that is supporting emerging artists. To register for tickets go to 

In her obituary, Greer wrote, “starting in 1987–when she was inspired by Faith Petric to quit her job as an attorney and dedicate her life to touring and making music in support of workers–Anne played more than 4,000 shows across North America and Europe. She also was president of the East Hills Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW). She performed for striking workers on countless picket lines, in union halls, and at some of the largest protests of the last century, including the protests that shut down the WTO in Seattle in 1999 and the historic March for Women’s Lives in 2004. Her performance at the WTO was featured in the documentary “This is What Democracy Looks Like”. She organized dozens of tours supporting various causes, including the Sing Out for Single Payer Healthcare tour in 2009, and raised tens of thousands of dollars for strike funds and progressive causes.

“Anne’s anthem “Have You Been to Jail for Justice” has been sung by activists around the world, and was recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary. She was a songwriter, but also a song collector who gave life to classic union hymns like Woody Guthrie’s “Union Maid,” and Joe Hill’s “Dump the Bosses off Your Back.” She released 12 albums over the course of her career, and shared stages with iconic artists like Pete Seeger, Loretta Lynn, John Prine, Toshi Reagon, The Mammals, Dan Bern, the Indigo Girls, and Billy Bragg. A lover of Irish music, she committed hundreds of Irish songs to memory, and led yearly singing tours of Ireland. She was a regular at Kerrville Folk Festival, Oregon Country Fair, and other major festivals.”

Evan Greer contributed to this article.

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]