Farewell to Pete Seeger

by: EJ on 01/29/2014
Posted in: Activism

Pete Seeger died this week at the age of 94 after a amazing life of songwriting and activism.  One of my prized possessions is an envelope with a small banjo doodled on the back. It is pinned to my work bulletin board.  The envelope contained a letter from Pete Seeger who had agreed to endorse John Taylor Gatto's book, Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling. Two outspoken voices supporting each other.  That's how Pete Seeger lived his life - supporting others and the causes he believed in. He was at the forefront of the labor movement, the struggle for Civil Rights, the peace and anti-war movements, and the fight for a clean world - in particular, his beloved Hudson River.  Alec Wilkinson wrote in his recent blog post, Post Script Peter Seeger,  "There may be a famous person these days who would choose jail over cooperating with the government against its citizens, but I can’t think of one.". 

But of course, it is the folk songs for which Pete Seeger will be most remembered. Music critic, Neil McCormick says, "Seeger helped establish our contemporary conception of folk and blues as music of sophistication and substance, perceptions that, in turn, helped shape the birth of rock and roll and the explosion of serious poetic lyricism that brought adult themes and high artistic aspirations to pop culture."

I have often been comforted by his song Turn, Turn, Turn, when coming to grips with the death of a loved one.  So now, in memoriam, here it is in honor of the irreplaceable Pete Seeger. 

 

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