the only reason I own a banjo is because of Pete Seeger..I pick it up and try to play it now and then and pretend I'm a great folk singer! it's better to sing to kids than drop bombs on them!
House Unamerican Activities Committee
August 18, 1955A Subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met at 10 a.m., in room 1703 of the Federal Building, Foley Square, New York, New York, the Honorable Francis E. Walter (Chairman) presiding.
Committee members present: Representatives Walter, Edwin E. Willis, and Gordon H. Scherer.
Staff members present: Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., Counsel; Donald T. Appell and Frank Bonora, Investigators; and Thomas W. Beale, Sr., Chief Clerk. (did these fucks spawn the Tea Party??)
MR. TAVENNER: When and where were you born, Mr. Seeger?
MR. SEEGER: I was born in New York in 1919.
MR. TAVENNER: What is your profession or occupation?
MR. SEEGER: Well, I have worked at many things, and my main profession is a student of American folklore, and I make my living as a banjo picker-sort of damning, in some people's opinion
MR. TAVENNER Has New York been your headquarters for a considerable period of time?
MR. SEEGER: No, I lived here only rarely until I left school, and after a year or two or a few years living here after World War II I got back to the country, where I always felt more at home.
MR. TAVENNER: You say that you were in the Armed Forces of the United States?
MR. SEEGER: About three and a half years.
MR. TAVENNER: Will you tell us please the period of your service?
MR. SEEGER: I went in in July 1942 and I was mustered out in December 1945.
MR. TAVENNER: Did you attain the rank of an officer?
MR. SEEGER: No. After about a year I made Pfc, and just before I got out I got to be T-5, which is in the equivilant of a corporal's rating, a long hard pull.
MR. TAVENNER: Mr. Seeger, prior to your entry in the service in 1942, were you engaged in the practice of your profession in the area of New York?
MR. SEEGER: It is hard to call it a profession. I kind of drifted into it and I never intended to be a musician, and I am glad I am one now, and it is a very honorable profession, but when I started out actually I wanted to be a newspaperman, and when I left school --
CHAIRMAN WALTER: Will you answer the question, please?
MR. SEEGER: I have to explain that it really wasn't my profession, I picked up a little change in it.
CHAIRMAN WALTER: Did you practice your profession?
MR. SEEGER: I sang for people, yes, before World War II, and I also did as early as 1925.
MR. TAVENNER: And upon your return from the service in December of 1945, you continued in your profession?
MR. SEEGER: I continued singing, and I expect I always will.
MR. TAVENNER: The Committee has information obtained in part from the Daily Worker indicating that, over a period of time, especially since December of 1945, you took part in numerous entertainment features. I have before me a photostatic copy of the June 20, 1947, issue of the Daily Worker. In a column entitled "What's On" appears this advertisement: "Tonight-Bronx, hear Peter Seeger and his guitar, at Allerton Section housewarming." May I ask you whether or not the Allerton Section was a section of the Communist Party?
MR. SEEGER: Sir, I refuse to answer that question whether it was a quote from the New York Times or the Vegetarian Journal.
MR. TAVENNER: I don't believe there is any more authoritative document in regard to the Communist Party than its official organ, the Daily Worker.
MR. SCHERER: He hasn't answered the question, and he merely said he wouldn't answer whether the article appeared in the New York Times or some other magazine. I ask you to direct the witness to answer the question.
CHAIRMAN WALTER: I direct you to answer.
MR. SEEGER: Sir, the whole line of questioning-
CHAIRMAN WALTER: You have only been asked one question, so far.
MR. SEEGER: I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this. I would be very glad to tell you my life if you want to hear of it.
"Largely misunderstood by his critics, including the US government, for his views on peace, unionism, civil rights and ecology, Seeger was targeted by the communist witch hunt of the Fifties. He was picketed, protested, blacklisted, and, in spite of his enormous popularity, banned from American television for more than 17 years. With a combination of never-before-seen archival footage and personal films made by Seeger and his wife, PETE SEEGER: POWER OF SONG chronicles the life of this legendary artist and political activist."
picketed, protested blacklisted and banned...now that's a cool legacy!!