Boxcar Betty
Boxcar Betty was a fictional hobo
A hobo is a term which is often applied to a migratory worker or homeless vagabond, often penniless. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States during the last decade of the 19th century. Unlike 'tramps', who work only when they are forced to, and 'bums', who do not...

 and IWW
Industrial Workers of the World
The Industrial Workers of the World is an international union. At its peak in 1923, the organization claimed some 100,000 members in good standing, and could marshal the support of perhaps 300,000 workers. Its membership declined dramatically after a 1924 split brought on by internal conflict...

 organizer in the early 20th century, popularized by a Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

-era book by Ben Reitman
Ben Reitman
Ben Lewis Reitman was an American anarchist and physician to the poor . He is best remembered today as radical Emma Goldman's lover.Reitman was a flamboyant, eccentric character...

. The IWW were among the first to organize itinerant workers, and some of their most dedicated organizers were homeless
Homelessness describes the condition of people without a regular dwelling. People who are homeless are unable or unwilling to acquire and maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence." The legal definition of "homeless" varies from country...

themselves. Boxcar Betty became a "larger than life" character, an amalgam of various women and part of American folklore:

"Today, if you really want to, you can probably find Boxcar Betty roaming the railroad yards across the country. Her name itself has become synonymous with rollicking, rough and tumble adventure. And wherever she goes, Boxcar Betty is a railroad tramp's worst nightmare and most delicious dream. Hopping freights and bouncing from one boxcar to another, Boxcar Betty is brawling her way across this great land."

Boxcar Betty appears in singer/songwriter David Rovics's song titled, "Song for Boxcar Betty," as well as in Holly Hanson's (of Neptune's Car) song titled, "Boxcar Betty."
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