Pete Seeger, America’s Teacher

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The January concert at the Lincoln Memorial celebrating the inauguration of President Barack Obama offered many stirring moments, but perhaps its highlight was Pete Seeger leading a chorus of hundreds of thousands of people singing "This Land Is Your Land." This is where Americans expect to see Pete Seeger, raising his voice for change, even when it’s cold outside.

Seeger has been singing folk music for change for more than 70 years now, sometimes in the middle of storms, sometimes causing them. Defiantly leftist, pacifist, and for a decade or so, Communist, Seeger has embraced almost every major reformist cause of the 20th century. He’s sung and spoken out for organized labor, against McCarthyism, in support of Civil Rights, against the Vietnam War, and -- from the deck of the sloop Clearwater, a “ship of song” which he helped to build -- his voice put early wind into the sails of the environmental movement.

Now 89, Seeger has witnessed his own transformation into an icon. President Clinton bestowed the National Medal of the Arts on him in 1994, and The Library of Congress named him a “Living Legend” in 2000. In 2007 PBS released "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song" as part of its American Masters documentary series. Seeger’s 90th birthday concert in New York on May 3rd will be a star-studded affair featuring luminaries from Ani DiFranco to Bruce Springsteen....

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