“Song, songs kept them going and going;
They didn’t realize the millions of seeds they were sowing.
They were singing in marches, even singing in jail.
Songs gave them the courage to believe they would not fail.”
Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 – Jan. 27, 2014)
Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong generation.
After falling deep into a realization(s) about my country my freshman year in high school, fueled by an amazing history teacher, Howard Zinn, and punk, I was different.
Although my activism has changed over the years and will probably never cease to as I grow, I have always looked to people whose voices I resonated with, whose paths I honored, and who spoke with depth.
Pete Seeger’s smile always burst out of videos – it was revolutionary for me to see someone so truly happy in their activism. Not jaded, not mad – but still solid, hopeful and active. Raging against the machine with peace.
I was lucky enough to see both Zinn and Seeger before they passed – Zinn at a small lecture at BU in 2009 and Seeger with the Boss at Obama’s first inaugural concert.
Granted, I never spoke directly to either, but being physically in their space was inspiring. As Seeger “gave us the words” that frigid afternoon in DC, I couldn’t help smiling. He was just as I had always imagined – a peaceful warrior sharing songs.