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Pete Seeger passed away on January 27th, 2014 at the age of 94. THIRTEEN and American Masters present a special in memoriam broadcast of the 2008 documentary Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, Friday, January 31, at 10:30 p.m and Saturday, February 1st at 2 p.m.

This film documents how the Seeger helped introduce America to its own musical heritage, devoting his life to using the power of song as a force for social change. Standing strong for deeply-held beliefs, Seeger went from the top of the pop charts to the top of the blacklist and was banned from American commercial television for more than 17 years. This determined singer/songwriter made his voice heard and encouraged the people of the world to sing out with him.

What did Pete Seeger – the person, his music, his message or his death, mean to you. Share your thoughts on Pete Seeger below.

  • Bob Wolpert

    “If
    they ever decide to put a fifth face on Mount Rushmore, I would nominate Pete
    Seeger. Pete is one of the great sons of this country.” – Harry Belafonte

    Pete Seeger’s life was a testament to the fact that music
    can actually be a force for good. Pete proved it by writing songs that helped
    shape our times. I was one of the millions who sang “Where Have All the
    Flowers Gone” and “If I Had a Hammer” during the Vietnam War
    protests.

    At Ohio Wesleyan University, I learned of the old songs
    that Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie had collected during their travels around
    the country and popularized – songs about shipwrecks and prison breaks, hobo
    lullabies, freedom songs and slave spirituals, love ballads, and blues.

    Pete Seeger was a national treasure, a tireless patriot,
    an artist who has never surrendered to cynicism or wavered from his outspoken
    commitment to the ideals of freedom, brotherhood, peace and justice. As a
    musician, he was a force of nature, a virtuoso of the 12-string guitar and an
    elegant banjo picker.

    “Education
    is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you
    don’t.” – Pete Seeger

    In the early 1940′s, Pete founded The Weavers who had
    many big hits (“Goodnight Irene,” “Kisses Sweeter Than
    Wine”) before being blacklisted during the Joseph McCarthy era. Pete was called before the House of Un-American
    Activities Committee and asked to name members of the Communist Party. Pete
    evoked, not the fifth, but the First Amendment. The Weavers disappeared from
    the playlists of most radio stations, and Pete did not appear on television for
    seventeen years until the Smothers Brothers broke the boycott.

    Pete, however, remained an ambassador for peace and
    social justice. Using his prowess as a musician, Pete engaged people in a
    variety of causes – labor solidarity, ending the Vietnam war, banning nuclear
    weapons, working for international diplomacy, supporting the Civil Rights
    movement, cleaning up the Hudson River, and being environmentally
    responsibility in general. Pete knit the world together with songs from China,
    the Soviet Union, Israel, Cuba, South Africa and Spain.

    In 1995, the man once accused of being anti-American
    received the nation’s highest cultural honor: the Kennedy Center Honors Award.

    “I
    want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took
    care of each other.” – Pete Seeger

    With Toshi, his wife of 70 years, Pete was one of the
    first to truly live a “green” lifestyle. On rural land in upstate New
    York, Pete built a log cabin which was his home. At age ninety-four, Pete was
    still chopping firewood and working the land. In the evening, Pete could often
    be found on a street corner near his home holding a sign with one word on it -
    “Peace”.

    “My
    main purpose is to get a crowd singing.” – Pete Seeger

    To attend a Pete Seeger concert was to participate in a
    unique musical ritual not soon forgotten. The tall skinny man with the
    banjo-string neck and the resonant nasal twang had a rare ability to electrify
    a crowd with his storytelling and humor, his fiery spirit and innate
    compassion. The last thing Pete wanted from an audience was rapt silence; Pete
    divided audiences up, taught them the choruses to the songs and got them to
    join in – sometimes in three or four part harmony.

    Several years ago, I attended a tribute to Pete at the
    Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

    Among those who honored Pete were one of the original
    members of The Weavers, Odetta, “Sweet Honey On the Rock”, and Judy
    Collins. At the end of the evening, Pete strolled on the stage with his banjo
    and started a sing-along. Three songs – “Turn, Turn, Turn”, “If
    I Had A Hammer”, and “This land Is Your Land”. The glow on his
    face confirmed the fact that Pete was never happier than when he united a group
    in song.

    Unique among musicians, Pete had no ego. Pete didn’t
    covet the spotlight, but actually insisted on the audience joining in; That
    night at the Keswick, Pete was more choir director than soloist. After Pete
    left the stage, the 1500 members in the audience stood and serenaded Pete with
    “Goodnight Irene”. Pete peered out from behind the stage curtain,
    smiled with a tear in his eye, and disappeared into the shadows of the night.
    ‘Twas a poignant moment which I shall never forget.

    For seventy-five years, Pete Seeger brought people
    together through music. I shall miss Pete, but his voice will always have a
    permanent home in my heart and memory.

    P.S. Thank you THIRTEEN for showing “Pete Seeger: The
    Power of Song” (One of my favorite movies of all-time). Throughout the
    film, Pete exudes a deep-seated, instinctive decency, a sense of fair play, and a profound belief
    in democratic ideals. For me, the film is much more than an appreciation, it is
    an inspiration.

  • David Rosenbaum

    They are building a new bridge across the Hudson, the river Pete saved, across the Tappan Zee, just south of his home in Beacon. It would be most apt if it was Named “The Pete Seeger Bridge.”

  • Andy Rose

    Pete Seeger was an icon for generations of people. He represented the hopes of the Old Left, free speech, the Civil Rights Movement, the Peace Movement during Vietnam, and the vision of environmentalists. To me, he will always be one of the great American patriots. He was all that is good in America. His passing is a great loss and I hope that we find significant ways to honor his memory. One idea would be to name the new Rockland County bridge replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge after him. It would be an arc over his beloved Hudson River.

    Andy Rose
    http://www.drandyrose.com

  • John Torrison

    I’ll remember Pete for he filled my life with his songs. First saw him at Newport with a young Kristofferson and Joni, Johnny and June in 1969 and again last summer at the Clearwater festival. My wife and I even made sails for the Clearwater in 1980. His spirit lives on with all those who heard his joy and his reverance for life.

  • Bruce Eder

    I was sorry to hear of the death of Pete Seeger, whom I saw perform many times beginning in the early 1960s, and respected as a musician, interpreter, and showman (an attribute that he displayed to great success even in the late 1940s). My view of his extra-musical activities is, perhaps, however, more nuanced than most of the published remembrances. He embraced a range of causes over the last six decades that most of us would consider admirable, even if not all of us could agree with his particular approach to all of them. But his social and political views from the late 1930s thru the end of the 1940s are frequently glossed over by most biographers, or summarized inaccurately by the statement that he “attended meetings of the Communist Party.” He was, quite simply, a dedicated admirer of Stalin and the Soviet Union, and never broke with that admiration of Stalin until very late in life. Between 1939 and 1941, Mr. Seeger was a full adherent to the Stalinist and Communist Party line, to the point where he opposed any American involvement in the war in Europe (calling Roosevelt a war-monger in songs, for his efforts to support England during the Battle of Britain), a stance that he didn’t change until the day that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. Then, and only then — not during the Rape of Nanking, the invasion of Poland, or the Battle of France, or the Battle of Britain — did Mr. Seeger suddenly see it as imperative that the United States intervene in the Second World War. And he did songs embracing Stalin’s party line right up to the end of the war, and after the Second World War as well. Of course, he got smarter about such matters as he grew older — one would hope so — and he did later come to stand up for some important causes that still resonate today. But he was hardly the American political saint that too many portraitists seek to present him as. (And this doesn’t mean that other important figures haven’t made similar mistakes in their early adult lives — jeez, Robert Byrd and Hugo Black were both members of the Ku Klux Klan early in their adult lives, but they overcame those mistakes and went on, each in his own way, to become important defenders of liberty and civil rights; in the case of Justice Black, perhaps even more successfully than Mr. Seeger.)

    • Ruth

      Bruce: So many people never change; they are caught in their egos/ideas for their entire lives. Pete NEVER changed in his passionate desire for a world that was kind and just for all beings. But he DEFINITELY changed his views on how that might be accomplished.

      • Bruce Eder

        And I accept that — what I don’t accept is his convenient obfuscations across the decades (“I was a ‘small c’ communist” — he sounds pretty “capital C” to me in the 1930s and 1940s), and the complicity of (albeit, sometimes well-meaning) biographers, journalists etc. to hide the darker side of his beliefs, especially since his beliefs are, in tandem with his music — supposedly — the basis for his significance in American culture.

    • Nick in Boston

      Bruce, thank you for your recounting this history. I am too young to remember the early days. I had no idea that he was a Stalinist. Interesting that, as he got older, he toned that down. Thank you for an important contribution to the discussion! I would never have known this without your post.

  • Bob Wolpert

    “If they ever decide to put a fifth face on Mount Rushmore, I would nominate Pete
    Seeger. Pete is one of the great sons of this country.” – Harry Belafonte

    Pete Seeger’s life was a testament to the fact that music can actually be a force for good. Pete proved it by writing songs that helped shape our times. I was one of the millions who sang “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “If I Had a Hammer” during the Vietnam War protests.

    At Ohio Wesleyan University, I learned of the old songs that Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie had collected during their travels around the country and popularized – songs about shipwrecks and prison breaks, hobo lullabies, freedom songs and slave spirituals, love ballads, and blues.

    Pete Seeger was a national treasure, a tireless patriot, an artist who has never surrendered to cynicism or wavered from his outspoken commitment to the ideals of freedom, brotherhood, peace and justice. As a musician, he was a force of nature, a virtuoso of the 12-string guitar and an elegant banjo picker.

    “Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you
    don’t.” – Pete Seeger

    In the early 1940′s, Pete founded The Weavers who had many big hits (“Goodnight Irene,” “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine”) before being blacklisted during the Joseph McCarthy era. Pete was called before the House of Un-American
    Activities Committee and asked to name members of the Communist Party. Pete
    evoked, not the fifth, but the First Amendment. The Weavers disappeared from
    the playlists of most radio stations, and Pete did not appear on television for
    seventeen years until the Smothers Brothers broke the boycott.

    Pete, however, remained an ambassador for peace and social justice. Using his prowess as a musician, Pete engaged people in a variety of causes – labor solidarity, ending the Vietnam war, banning nuclear weapons, working for international diplomacy, supporting the Civil Rights movement, cleaning up the Hudson River, and being environmentally responsibility in general. Pete knit the world together with songs from China, the Soviet Union, Israel, Cuba, South Africa and Spain.

    In 1995, the man once accused of being anti-American received the nation’s highest cultural honor: the Kennedy Center Honors Award.

    “I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took
    care of each other.” – Pete Seeger

    With Toshi, his wife of 70 years, Pete was one of the first to truly live a “green” lifestyle. On rural land in upstate New York, Pete built a log cabin which was his home. At age ninety-four, Pete was still chopping firewood and working the land. In the evening, Pete could often be found on a street corner near his home holding a sign with one word on it – “Peace”.

    “My main purpose is to get a crowd singing.” – Pete Seeger

    To attend a Pete Seeger concert was to participate in a unique musical ritual not soon forgotten. The tall skinny man with the banjo-string neck and the resonant nasal twang had a rare ability to electrifya crowd with his storytelling and humor, his fiery spirit and innate compassion. The last thing Pete wanted from an audience was rapt silence; Pete divided audiences up, taught them the choruses to the songs and got them to join in – sometimes in three or four part harmony.

    Several years ago, I attended a tribute to Pete at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

    Among those who honored Pete were one of the original members of The Weavers, Odetta, “Sweet Honey On the Rock”, and Judy Collins. At the end of the evening, Pete strolled on the stage with his banjo and started a sing-along. Three songs – “Turn, Turn, Turn”, “If I Had A Hammer”, and “This land Is Your Land”. The glow on his face confirmed the fact that Pete was never happier than when he united a group in song.

    Unique among musicians, Pete had no ego. Pete didn’t covet the spotlight, but actually insisted on the audience joining in; That night at the Keswick, Pete was more choir director than soloist. After Pete left the stage, the 1500 members in the audience stood and serenaded Pete with “Goodnight Irene”. Pete peered out from behind the stage curtain,
    smiled with a tear in his eye, and disappeared into the shadows of the night.
    ‘Twas a poignant moment which I shall never forget.

    For seventy-five years, Pete Seeger brought people
    together through music. I shall miss Pete, but his voice will always have a
    permanent home in my heart and memory.

    P.S. Thank you THIRTEEN for showing “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song” (One of my favorite movies of all-time). Throughout the
    film, Pete exudes a deep-seated, instinctive decency, a sense of fair play, and a profound belief
    in democratic ideals. For me, the film is much more than an appreciation, it is
    an inspiration.

  • Yasuyuki Tateishi

    Pete Seeger is a real patriot, ardent peace lover, great fighter for better US and World. It is really sorry he died physically but he will live in our memory for ever.
    His death was reported throughout world, Russia,Europe, and Japan. Although the US is the most reactionary, war monger imperial power with more than 1000 military baes throughout world, but the beauty of the US is that there have been many courageous people fighting for peace and against war: Recent example is Snowden, and many courageous people who worked in CIA, and other governental organizations. They often appear in Russian TVs. That shows that true democracy is still alive and kicking.

    • Bruce Eder

      Some honest and sincere people believe that the best way to fight for peace and against war is to have a strong defense.

      • Yasuyuki Tateishi

        Strong defence! No aggressors have stated that our military was for the purpose of agression or for genocide.
        If there is law or constitution which prevents use of miitary other than protecting one’s country, that is, it can not send its military outside of its border, such as Japan. Defense is ok, but the Nazis or US uses its military to invade, This is no good.

      • Bruce Eder

        With all due respect, if you’re equating the United States with Nazi Germany, then I can only conclude that your understanding of anything connected with government, military affairs, or history is even more limited than your command of English and, thus, hardly worth commenting upon.

      • TruthSeeker1968

        In no way did Yasuyuki say the US was equal to Nazi Germany. He simply said they have both invaded and were aggressors. That statement is true. Guess you didn’t have a good argument or you wouldn’t have personally attacked Yasuyuki instead you would have stated your case.

      • Bruce Eder

        Excuse me, but it sure looks like he is, to me. But then, you old lefties never want to see anything for what it is if it conflicts with your world view, same as poor old Pete — may God rest his soul as a musician, but may God also damn him as a dishonest, squirrelly subversive when it came to his true beliefs.

  • toby z. liederman

    …a decent, ethical, courageous, talented human being, always ‘telling it and singing it like it is’—a role model for us all

    • Bruce Eder

      Telling it and singing it like is — everywhere but in Stalin’s Russia, huh?

  • Gail Lelyveld

    I agree name the new bridge for Pete Seeger. I find it interesting that he died on the same day as Howard Zinn.four years later. I felt like he was always here because he managed to go to the weekly anti war vigil in Beacon, NY and I would always here about it. One of the people at Friends Committee on Natinal Legislation thought he should have a War is not the Answer sign for the vigil. He apparently agreed but nobody knew where to send it. Maybe they got it finally. I first saw him in Boston in the fifties at the Boston Arts Festival.

  • hsaper

    The truth teller here is Bruce Eder. Seeger’s politics in many ways were worse than execrable, but that is ignored by a sympathetic media. Yes, much of his music is terrific and I can add nothing to all that has been written about that, but some of it was influenced by communism and is not so admirable. Liberals paint anti-communists as worse than communists (the PBS documentary does this), and that is a big lie. Pete Seeger’s communism and dedication to Stalin, Castro, etc, is not to be brushed aside. This nonsense that Seeger “meant well” has got to stop. We would never say that about someone who supported Hitler or Mussolini. Communism murdered more people than Naziism and fascism, and Seeger supported those murderers whole-heartedly until very late in his life. Ron Radosh, a former student of Seeger’s and a communist in his youth, has written in great detail about this, and he pays a price for that. But he should be read with an open mind so as to give the eulogies balance and truth. The best that can be said about Seeger’s politics is that he was a useful idiot. In this he joins a long line of artists and intellectuals.

    http://pjmedia.com/ronradosh/2014/01/30/the-two-worst-tribute-articles-to-pete-seeger/?singlepage=true

    • Yasuyuki Tateishi

      Your command of the history before the end of WWII is dreadful. Communism did not kill any, but those who falsely claim as communists did, such as Talin, Mao, Kim of N.Korea.
      However, Hitler’s Nazis killed about 30 million Soviets in addition to smaller numbers of Polishs, Brits, Americans, and others . Actually if you honestly study the world history, Russia and the USSR really saved the world. Now President Putin is trying to prevent WWIII, through his skillful approach to Syrian problems. We all owe lots to Soviets and Russians.

      • Bruce Eder

        I rest my case . . . .

      • hsaper

        Ah, what a scholar you are. A crackpot scholar if ever I have seen one. So all the communists who murdered 100 million people (if you don’t count the Germans that the Russians killed) weren’t really communists! Why didn’t I think of that? And Hitler wasn’t a real Nazi. I’ve got it now. And the Soviets under Stalin, that non-communist, saved the world! Presumably by signing a pact with Hitler, the non-Nazi, in 1939. I wonder how I missed all that. Stupid me.

      • Yasuyuki Tateishi

        How stupid you are> Guy from scum! No more discussion with a diehard stupid fascist

      • hsaper

        I cannot; contend with the brillance of such arguments. Such wisdom, the wisdom of a typical leftist.

  • Joyce Galanter

    I first saw Pete Seeger perform at Reynold’s Hills, a bungalow colony between Buchanan and Peekskill, NY in 1953. All the kids sat in the front rows of the “casino” and I was transfixed. I was 11 and had the privilege of a repeat the following summer. Since then I managed to be at some concerts at Carnegie Hall and lastly at a Clearwater festival in Sandy Hook, NJ. Also saw the Weavers in several locations. His concerts, with the audience encouragement, were thrilling. Pete Seeger embodies all that is right with the USA and will be remembered as the champion of the ideals that were inculcated in us during our elementary school years in NYC.
    He will be missed!

  • Mindy Aloff

    In the summer of 1967, a Sunday morning religious t.v. program, “Look Up and Live,” had an actor recite a poem I had written two years before, as a college freshman. Also on that program, Pete Seeger sang “Shenandoah.” At the time, I was told how important it was that he performed on t.v., but it wasn’t until many years later that I learned the full scope of his blacklisting and just what an honor it was to have something on a program where he performed. His rendition of the song was characteristically true and pure: He had such wonderful diction in his singing, among many other gifts. In the 1970s and ’80s I also saw him perform live once or twice, the last time on behalf of the Clearwater. It was a privilege to be part of his audience.

  • Joanne, NYC

    They don’t make ‘em like Pete anymore….selfless, concerned, committed, diverse. A true “American Master.”…RIP Pete, you done good!!! Looking forward to seeing this docu again, very glad it is being rebroadcast.

  • bryan

    40 years ago I took my 4 and 2 year to a Saturday work and play. told them after we would go to the not opened Seaport Museum by the then Fulton Fish market.
    Ode to Joy-Pete Seeger-Clearwater and pumkins,pumkins and more pumkins filled the dock with songs and stories.
    his Foggy Wenta Courtin’ still haunts my memory with sweatness.
    Preachin’ by song and joy and story telling.
    thanks so much from such a humble giant.
    Bryan

  • Diana Faulkner McCoy

    I had the pleasure of attending 2 or 3 concerts that Pete gave at Oberlin College in the late 1950s. His passing is sad but his life great. My boyfriend refused to go to a concert until our last year, believing the garbage that the McCarthy commission spewed about Pete as well as too many other great people. When Bill finally went to this last concert, he realized what the music meant and how terrific it and Pete were. I’m glad he finally had that opportunity. After each performance Pete would go over to the co-op dorm and join a sing, often led by Joe Hickerson – hope I have the name right – who was a talented folk singer. I’ll never forget what fun that was.

  • Mindy Schwartz Brown

    My parents heard Pete Seeger sing at the Progressive Party Convention for Henry Wallace in 1948, and we were raised on Pete, and the Weavers, and other
    progressive musicians. He has always been a secret family member.
    At times when the world looked dark and frightening, I’d hear him sing
    and say an optimistic word and the light would come in.
    He was a spiritual and moral compass to the world and a good, humble
    man

  • Pat M Innyc

    A shot of Pete on his boat The Clearwater at South Street Seaport in 1973

  • butterfly7

    Pete interrupted his concert on 8/4/64 to announced that our 3 civil rights colleagues bodies were discovered in Ms. He led us gently in song:”We shall overcome”. I’ll never forget his songs of praise, his human spirit & goodness toward activism for civil rights. He expressed better than most his love for mankind. God be with his spirit and his family at this time.

  • Margo Hebald

    “Communism” like “Democracy” exists in many different versions. The word comes from “commune”:”A commune is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work and income. ” ( as defined by Wikipedia). Think also of a “community”.The concept of communism is quite different in different Countries. Russia initially became Communist as a way of rebelling against a tyrant monarchy (and murdering them). And it evolved in Russia. “Stalinism” is not “Communism”. And most people in America in the ’40s and ’50s did not really know of the brutal conditions under Stalin. Americans, particularly people in the arts, had a different idea of Communism, than what actual existed in Russia. That is why, I believe, Pete Seeger used the “little c” to explain his association with communism.

    Coming from the great Depression, people in the Arts, writers, performers, artists, were struggling to make ends meet. While those of the “1 %” were living the life depicted in the Fred Astaire, Ginger Roger movies. This made the concept of Communism very attractive.

    Roy Cohen, Richard Nixon and Sen. McCarthy were just wheeler-dealers, and politicians, out to make a name for themselves, and creating “boogeyman” stories about Communists, to frighten people. Just like some of the vicious, hypocritical “crap” that come from the extreme right wing today.

    Pete Seeger was a patriotic American; a sophisticated New Yorker, who was the equivalent of an early “Civil Rights” worker, before the 1960s. Never a “Stalinist”.

    • Bruce Eder

      He was such a patriotic American that he opposed any US entry into the Second World War until his beloved Russia was attacked. You’re deluding yourself, about his beliefs and about Communism, Stalinism etc., and most of all about ol’ Pete, who was a fine musician but possibly as poor a political thinker as anyone who ever picked up a guitar — except to the degree that he learned to stop talking about the bases of his true beliefs.

  • Frances Ruth Harris

    The Best X 10

  • Corine Cohen

    I met him at Camp Killoleet. He came up and led our camp fire sings. The man was my hero and he got me to love folk music. I was, a, shy kid that hated being away from home but he made me light up. I adored him.

  • Steven Kalka

    I am happy about the role he played in cleaning up the Hudson River, and I’d like to see the new bridge named after Pete Seeger. However, I have serious disagreements with his solution for so many of the world’s other ills. He wanted a new world where the collective is everything and the individual is nothing. Give it whatever wonderful sounding euphemism you can think; progressive, brotherhood, peace, etc.
    Like other leftists, he was against any US involvement in WWII until the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. What does that tell you?
    Communism sounds so wonderful except for one think. People don’t come together voluntary. A police state enforces it.
    Pete may have left the US Communist Party in 1950, yet he didn’t acknowledge the horrors of Stalin until decades later.

  • Yakov

    Pete Seeger is the Moses of our time. No one could lead like him. No one inspired like him. No one could make you sing like him. I remember seeing him live at the Rheingold Music Festival in Central Park probably in about 1962. I was about 14 years old. Wow. How many times have I have listened to the Weavers at Carnegie Hall? Infinite.

  • graycat

    I was a organist in Beacon Reformed Church. I met Pete Seeger in the church one Sunday. He asked me to sing a song. I sang “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “Turn, Turn, Turn”, songs I grew up with. I didn’t realize he had written them. Because of his rich music background, and his activism, he is someone to look up to. A life well lived.

  • graycat

    He gave us American Folk Music.

  • Rowan Lindley

    I have sung along with Pete Seeger on long-playing records, cassette tapes, radio, CDs, iTunes and in-person at fund raisers up and down the Hudson Valley. When I feel discouraged about the state of the world I sing “Precious Friend” or “We Shall Overcome” to myself. Thank you, Pete, for your support of the union movement, civil rights, anti-war movements and the environment, and for teaching so many of us the strength and joy that comes from singing together. Goodnight, and we’ll see you in our dreams.

  • Margaret

    I would like to see Pete Seeger’s birthday to be remembered every year.

  • Claudia S

    I attended summer camp in the Catskills in the 50′s, where Pete came every summer during the years he was blacklisted and could only share his music with kids. I was one of those who was forever changed by his music, although I didn’t know it at the time.

  • tee

    All I know is that Pete Seeger was one of a kind and while
    other “celebrities” take up causes because it may be fashionable, he
    never wavered in his beliefs or commitment. A wonderful human being that
    I had the privilege of seeing as a child and the experience has stayed with me
    40 years later.

  • mama dish

    This is a photograph of Pete at South Street…late 1970s or very early ’80s.
    What he did to bring consciousness to saving the Hudson River is so remarkable…one person putting one foot in front of the other, staying focused and getting others to pay attention..and glory hallelujah…actually ACCOMPLISHING something really big. How heroic is that? President Obama…are you listening?

  • Pedro L. Maymi

    Name the river after him. The Pete Seeger River, which he saved for all of us. The river had a different name before Henry Hudson “discovered” it. The Native Americans called something else, and the Spanish, called San Antonio. So it would be most appropriate to call it:
    The Pete Seeger River.

  • anativedaughter

    Yes, He wasn’t perfect. He made political and likely personal mistakes. And he also made incredible decisions to place his personal iife up front, to use his talents to lead us to value the environment and to understand the way power and wealth can sometimes suppress justice and freedom. His was a prolific song-writer and was the troubadour of the American Social justice Movement longer and more consistently than nay other performer. Like many other progressive artists, he faced McCarthyism head on and endured the full weight of that suppression. Later in life he never appeared to be publicly bitter. ( I have no idea what he said or expressed in private).

    He kept on “keeping on” and finding ways to integrate the sound/music and song of justice and freedom with the work of justice and freedom, inspiring so many much younger to get out and into the streets to oppose unjust decisions.

    I met him personally on two different occasions and was inspired by his kindness to me and the others around me. That he would attend such “small venues” and lend his passionate voice to local movements. He attended a demonstration on a North Shore Beach in 1979 to oppose the “siting” of the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant. (It never opened! and I met him at an award ceremony when he was given a life-time achievement award from a peace and justice organization).

    I agree that the era of Stalin was corrupted and a violation of the democratic principles of what a “people’s” revolution ought to create/generate. There is rarely a guarantee when ordinary people align to over throw tyranny, that they will be able to insure justice and democracy in their quest for a different type of leadership than that which they gave their lives to overthrow; and it’s a consistent disappointment to learn and witness how often it can fail in real time. I’m not justifying anything that followed from the Russian Revolution, nor am I writing in support of anyone who didn’t recognize the fascism of Stalinism and Stalin’s pact with the fascism of Germany. Not really excusable from my perspective.

    This does not equal a need to deny the importance of supporting the common good; of recognizing that modern US economic policy (not merely “culture”) has placed US society on a tenuous/dangerous path to the denigration and minimization of the middle class and to continuing to deny access to the poor and underemployed via greed and the unrelenting overprotection of certain banks, corporations and the already wealthy.

    These economic mechanisms and their eventual and inevitable patterns, including
    the impact on the earthly resources upon which we rely are realities that Pete understood and about which he (and Woody Guthrie) sang, helping and encouraging many people to remain conscious of and spirited about challenging and to which he dedicated his life.

    In summary, his actual impact was more valuable than his errors (this isn’t always so with “heroes”). And for that, I think it appropriate that we begin a movement to name the new bridge for him. He is a true native son, born in NY City on May 3, 1919 and dying at peace at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NY City on January 27, 2014. Having lived his life on the Hudson and dedicating so much of his later life to the health of the Hudson, he would probably be tickled to know that his spirit of love for that river and for us would be captured in having his name floating able it on a new bridge spanning it. In appreciate for the enthusiasm and leadership he gave us out of his later years.

  • Nancy

    Pete was our music teacher for several years at Downtown Community School in NYC, a progressive school that hired teachers who were otherwise blacklisted and unable to work. We were the lucky the recipient of his gifts, along with people like Pearl Greenberg, our art teacher, Wolf Kahn who taught shop, Grace Cohen and Frank Ilchuck who taught fifth grade and music repectively. It was amazing.

  • Patrick Liu

    Although I never met Pete Seeger, as a New Yorker I know what he did for our beloved Hudson River. By creating the Clearwater Sloop and its non-profit organization, he not only educated people on the effects of pollution on our waters, but fought big corporations like GE in its dumping of PCB’s in the Hudson River. Amazing that only recently GE has finally been held to task in cleaning up its own mess. As an educator on board the Voyager in the late 1980′s, I saw 1st hand what his group was doing at the grass roots level. Thank you Pete Seeger and may you rest in peace…

  • Roland

    A picture i made of Pete Seeger, at the height of his power: the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. All the joy in his face and his words and his music and his being made the Earth a better planet.

  • David Rosenbaum

    Well, “The Clearwater Hudson River Bridge” wouldn’t be bad. Or “Clearwater/Pete Seeger Bridge.”

  • http://www.justvinnyblues.com Just Vinny

    One thing that still amazes me is this re-writing of history in regards to sentiment about the Soviet Union in the first place. We were their ally for a long time. We even sold government bonds to send them war materials. No one knew about Stalin’s atrocities until well after the fact. And it is well documented that Americans who initially were enamored of Communism definitely transitioned to a different position as this information was disseminated. Nobody knew anything about the internal workings of the Stalinist regime and there was no anti-stalinist or anti-Russian or anti-communist euphoria in this country until after WWII. It is also a fact that we enjoy a lot of things in this country that we would not give up that were originally ideas promoted by the American Socialist party and later adopted by the other two political parties as good ideas. De-segregation was not an idea promoted by either the Republican or Democratic parties. Most people though think it was a good idea. And the press has never been sympathetic to Pete Seeger. Being black listed means you stop getting paid. It is probably not profitable to bash a 70, 80 or 90 year old songster so they have laid off these last decades but they have never been sympathetic.

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