United States singer and McCarthyist witch hunt survivor Pete Seeger

This is a music video from the USA: Pete Seeger, Which side are you on.

From the Independent series about United States activists:

Pete Seeger


For more than half a century, Seeger‘s songs have provided the soundtrack to protest: at union halls, civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War protests. As a result, he has been investigated for sedition, harassed by the FBI, and called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities

“I was hauled up before the HUAC along with about 30 other actors and musicians in New York. The committee claimed that it was investigating the Communist conspiracy in the entertainment business. Of course, they were just investigating their own definition of heresy. The committee asked me, “Did you ever sing a song called ‘Wasn’t That a Time‘?” I still sing that song. It has a verse for Valley Forge, a verse for Gettysburg, a verse for the Second World War, and a verse for the McCarthy days. But it ended on an optimistic note: “Our faith cries out. Isn’t this a time, a time to free the soul of man?” So I told the committee, “That’s a good song, and I know it. I’ll sing it for you.” They replied: “No. We don’t want to hear it. We want to know, did you sing it on such and such a place and date?” I said, “I would be glad to sing any song I ever sang. But as to where I’ve sung them, I think that’s no business of this committee. I’ve got a right to sing them anywhere.” A year later, I was cited for contempt of Congress because I had refused to answer the committee’s questions. In 1961, I was tried, convicted and sentenced to a year in jail. My family and friends stood behind me. And all around the world, people sent dimes and dollars to help pay the legal expenses. A year later, the appeals court unanimously acquitted me. I’m only sorry I hadn’t done what Paul Robeson did. He stood up and shouted, “This whole hearing is a disgrace. You are the Un-Americans!”

13 thoughts on “United States singer and McCarthyist witch hunt survivor Pete Seeger

  1. I was tried, convicted and sentenced to a year in jail. My family and friends stood behind me. And all around the world, people sent dimes and dollars to help pay the legal expenses. A year later, the appeals court unanimously acquitted me.


  2. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

    Dear Supporter,

    The upcoming episode of This Brave Nation featuring Pete Seeger and Majora Carter epitomizes that sentiment. Pete Seeger has played an active role in every social movement in modern history, from early union battles to Civil Rights to the anti-war movement. At 89, Pete is not only a reminder of our nation’s history of turbulence and triumph, he is also an inspiration for our vibrant future.

    Perhaps that’s what gave him an instant connection with Majora Carter. The Executive Director and Founder of Sustainable South Bronx, Majora has worked tirelessly to reshape the neighborhood of her youth by encouraging sustainability, alternative transportation, and a national green-collar job agenda. These two committed individuals are definitely taking action to change our world, and their conversation is not to be missed.

    Watch the full fourth episode Watch the full fourth episode

    And speaking of taking action, it’s time to PARTY! July 13th we will bring you LIVE the final episode of This Brave Nation, featuring 2 very special guests. How can we share this with all of you live? House parties, that’s how. Sign up now to host a house party featuring the This Brave Nation episode of your choice, followed by a LIVE episode of This Brave Nation.

    In the meantime, don’t forget to make a donation today to This Brave Nation – 2 DVDs of the first five episodes for just $15. We’re going to start shipping these DVDs tomorrow, June 23, so get ’em while they’re hot!

    Lastly, we’ve extended our contest deadline for The Brave Nation Young Activist Award to June 27. That gives you an extra week to nominate your local unsung hero!

    * Julia Dann worked as a community development organizer in rural Costa Rica.
    * At 27, Kyle Serrette became a lead organizer for AFSCME’s United Nurses Associations of California.
    * In 1999 as a high school student, Charity Ryerson she was responsible for persuading the Indianapolis City-County Council to adopt a resolution condemning China’s occupation of Tibet and the treatment of the Tibetan people.

    What young activist do you know that’s making the world a better place? Let us know – soon!

    Robert Greenwald and Katrina vanden Heuvel
    Brave New Foundation and the The Nation

    Who’s buzzing about This Brave Nation?

    Permit me a personal moment. Like you, I often wonder why I do what I do. And because I’ve done it for so long, I sometimes wonder whether it all was worth it. Well, make no mistake. It was and is. Especially when the reasons are so graphically and emotionally recorded on film. Let me explain. Last night I watched – online – the second episode in a remarkable series co-produced by The Nation magazine and Brave New Foundation. …Print married with film. Film and print married with the internet. Internet married with text, audio and video. Text, audio and video married with ACTION. You don’t need a user’s manual to get the beauty of all this integration.

    It truly is one of the best things you guys have ever done — the discussions are amazing. Truly. And, quite frankly, a whole lot of folks need some inspiration to get up off their asses right now.

    – Christy at Firedoglake (via email)


  3. May 4, 7:42 AM EDT

    Springsteen honors Seeger at 90th birthday concert

    Associated Press Writer

    NEW YORK (AP) — A star-studded medley of musical guests played tribute to Pete Seeger at a benefit concert for the legendary folk singer’s 90th birthday.

    Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Ani DiFranco and John Mellencamp were among the 40 musicians performing in Madison Square Garden for the Sunday night show, a benefit to raise awareness for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, an organization Seeger started to preserve and protect the Hudson River.

    A lone light shone on Seeger as he opened the show playing a flute solo called “Menomonee Love Song.” As the lights came up, they revealed the outline of a sloop, fitting for an event dubbed the Clearwater Concert after the organization’s vessel, the gaff sloop Clearwater.

    The crowd ranged from teens to octogenarians and perhaps even older. Springsteen brought them to laughter as he introduced Seeger.

    “He’s gonna look a lot like your granddad that wears flannel shirts and funny hats. He gonna look like your granddad if your granddad can kick your a–,” the Boss said. “At 90, he remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country’s illusions about itself.”

    John Mellencamp came out early and performed, “If I Had A Hammer (The Hammer Song).”

    “It was the very first song I learned how to play on guitar,” he said.

    Most of the evening consisted of multiple artists performing together with one highlight coming before the intermission – Seeger joined by Harris, Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, and others for a spiritual version of “We Shall Overcome.”

    Arlo Guthrie, son of folk legend Woody Guthrie, was joined by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.”

    Tom Morello was the evening’s interloper, performing four numbers with different artists. The most impressive was his duet with Springsteen near the end of the show. The pair traded verses on Springsteen’s “the Ghost of Tom Joad.” The former Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist also performed “John Henry” with Tom Paxton, and “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” with Taj Mahal.

    Dave Matthews told the crowd: “The first concert that my mother took me to was Pete Seeger.” Then he launched into a searing version of “Whiskey Rye Whiskey.”

    Seeger and the rest of the evening’s performers came on stage for an extended cover of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is My Land.” They came back on for several encores and at the end brought out the entire Seeger family.

    Proceeds from the event will go toward preserving and protecting the Hudson River.

    On the Net:



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