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Pete Seeger Dies at 94

Blacklisted during the McCarthy Era, his banjo was a potent weapon for peace and civil rights movements.

David Amran (left) takes the stage with Pete Seeger and Lorre Wyatt at the 2013 Clearwater Festival in New York. Photo/Alison Bert
David Amran (left) takes the stage with Pete Seeger and Lorre Wyatt at the 2013 Clearwater Festival in New York. Photo/Alison Bert
By Lanning Taliaferro

Iconic folk musician Pete Seeger, who loved and lived by the Hudson River, died Jan. 27. He was 94.

Seeger, who was born in Patterson, NY, was active and at home in Beacon until his final illness, going into New York Presbyterian Hospital six days ago, according to the Huffington Post. 

Seeger's career spanned 80 years. A member of The Weavers, one of the seminal folk music groups of the 1940s, he was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era in the 1950s. 

His banjo was a potent weapon in the 1960s and 1970s in the civil rights and anti-war movements, something PBS acknowledged in its American Masters episode "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song."

As a song writer, he was the author or co-author of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" (with Joe Hickerson), "If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)" (composed with Lee Hays of The Weavers), and "Turn, Turn, Turn!", which have been recorded by many artists both in and outside the folk revival movement and are still sung throughout the world, according to Wikipedia. 

He sang in great and small venues, from the halls of Congress to the annual Pumpkin Festival in Beacon, where he had lived since 1943 with his wife Toshi Alina Ota, who died in July, 2013.

"Once called “America’s tuning fork,” Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song.  But more importantly, he believed in the power of community – to stand up for what’s right, speak out against what’s wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be," said the White House in a statement from President Barack Obama on Seeger. 

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