Pete Seeger. From blacklist to presidential inauguration

pete seeger 1986

Peter Dreier in HuffPo documents the amazing life of Pete Seeger, and says he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. A few excerpts.

Since the late 1930s, Seeger has been a political activist and a troubadour for social justice in the U.S. and human rights around the world. He has used his remarkable talents as a performer, musician, songwriter, and folklorist to engage other people, from all walks of life, across generations and cultures, in causes to build a better and more civilized world. He almost singlehandedly popularized the notion that music can be a force for social change.

Seeger is without doubt the most influential folk artist of the past century. No one can get a crowd singing like Seeger. The songs he’s written, like “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” “If I Had a Hammer,” and “Turn, Turn, Turn” (drawn from Ecclesiastes), and those he’s popularized, including “This Land is Your Land,” “Guantanamera,” “Wimoweh,” and “We Shall Overcome,” have been recorded by hundreds of artists in many languages and become global anthems for people fighting for freedom. His songs are sung by people in cities and villages around the world, promoting the basic idea that the hopes that unite us are greater than the fears that divide us.

Seeger was blacklisted by the McCarthyites in the 50’s and for many years most venues would not book him. But he never backed down. Now, five decades later, he sang “This Land is Your Land” at a presidential inauguration.


  1. Good for him! I came of age in the 70s, and Seeger’s music was one of the few things my parents and I could agree on! They bought me one of his albums in the late 60s and I’ve loved him ever since.

  2. Ah yes, Pete sings “This Land is Your Land” as our nation’s capital enters lockdown and a procorporate president takes the oath of office. The only question is whether Pete is aware of the irony.

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