Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger by Anita Silvey

I liked the cover of this book. I really didn't know much about Peter Seeger before, but he was a fascinating character. I love that he never backed down on the things he really cared about. And,,, the banjo. I love the banjo. 

Today would have been his 98th birthday. 

Pete's family actually came from money. But they set off in a little car and trailer to listen to the songs of Appalachia. I think they intended to bring classical music to isolated areas, but instead were enchanted with their music. 

Pete was a failed journalist and artist, trying to make a buck when he took up playing music for money. One of his first "groups" included Woody Guthrie on the left there. 

He cared about workers rights, so he played a lot of Union rallies.

This is his portrait in the National Portrait Gallery. Doesn't he just look delighted with life? 

With the Seekers, he became popular and wealthy. 

Pete's story is pretty much a fairy tale--we have the true love and happy ever after marriage to Toshi (70 years together).

And we have the villan--J Edgar Hoover, who painted Seeger as a Communist sympathizer and destroyed his successful career with the Seekers.  

The Seeger family. I mean really, he always is looking delighted. 

Pete knew he was going to have to face the Committee on UnAmerican Activities, but he didn't let it ruin him. 

When he was finally called before the committee, he showed up with his banjo. 

I like his style. 

He never wavered in his defense. He loved America and no longer believed in practical Communism. He was only exercising his American rights when he spoke up in defense of Unions and the ideals of communism. 

After being cleared, he went on to march with Civil Rights activists. He is the one that made We Shall Overcome an anthem for the Civil Rights movement.

In later years, when he wasn't performing at inaugurations, he was cleaning up the Hudson River and launching Clearwater, a river schooner he would use to take kids on day trips to teach them about taking care of the river. 

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