It was on 24 January, in 2014, that folk singer Pete Seeger, died. In the late 1930’s, Seeger got start by assisting Alan Lomax in archiving American folk songs for the Library of Congress.
Seeger would join the ‘New Almanac Singers’, and perform with Millard Lampell, Cisco Houston, Woody Guthrie, Butch and Bess Lomax Hawes, and Lee Hays. They would produce numerous albums of sea chanteys, pioneer songs and what some termed, ‘hillbilly music’.
Seeger served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific. He was trained as an airplane mechanic, but was reassigned to entertain the American troops with music. Later, when people asked him what he did in the war, he always answered “I strummed my banjo.”
Seeger popularized the song, “We Shall Overcome” as an anthem of the American Civil Rights Movement.
At the Vietnam Moratorium March on Washington, DC, on 15 November, 1969, Seeger led 500,000 protesters in singing John Lennon’s song “Give Peace a Chance” as they rallied across from the White House. Seeger’s voice carried over the crowd, interspersing phrases like,
Are you listening, Nixon?
between the choruses of protesters singing,
All we are saying… is give peace a chance.
On October 21, 2011, at age 92, Pete Seeger was part of a solidarity march with Occupy Wall Street to Columbus Circle in New York City.