SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

January 29, 2014

Folk singer, activist Pete Seeger dead at 94

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Unable to carry his beloved banjo, Pete Seeger used a different but equally formidable instrument, his mere presence, to instruct yet another generation of young people how to effect change through song and determination two years ago.

A surging crowd, two canes and seven decades as a history-sifting singer and rabble-rouser buoyed him as he led an Occupy Wall Street protest through Manhattan in 2011.

“Be wary of great leaders,” he told The Associated Press two days after the march. “Hope that there are many, many small leaders.”

The banjo-picking troubadour who sang for migrant workers, college students and star-struck presidents in a career that introduced generations of Americans to their folk music heritage died Monday at age 94. Seeger’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, said his grandfather died peacefully in his sleep around 9:30 p.m. at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been for six days. Family members were with him.

“He was chopping wood 10 days ago,” Cahill-Jackson recalled.

With his lanky frame, use-worn banjo and full white beard, Seeger was an iconic figure in folk music who outlived his peers. He performed with the great minstrel Woody Guthrie in his younger days and wrote or co-wrote “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.” He lent his voice against Hitler and nuclear power. A cheerful warrior, he typically delivered his broadsides with an affable air and his fingers poised over the strings of his banjo.

In the early ’60s, Seeger docked his sailboat Clearwater in Marblehead Harbor, and he performed at an outdoor concert in Crocker Park at the Marblehead Arts Festival.

In 2011, he walked nearly 2 miles with hundreds of protesters swirling around him holding signs and guitars, later admitting the attention embarrassed him. But with a simple gesture — extending his friendship — Seeger gave the protesters and even their opponents a moment of brotherhood the short-lived Occupy movement sorely needed.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Bandits hit 2 Beverly banks over 2 days

    BEVERLY -- Brazen robbers hit two Beverly banks in less than 24 hours. A man was arrested in connection with Tuesday's robbery, while the suspect in yesterday's incident remains at large, police said. It has been some time since this North Shore city

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416_SN_KYU_BAKER_3 Time to raise our game SALEM -- Swampscott Republican Charlie Baker has worked in state government for years, had success in the private sector and ran for governor in 2010. But the question he hears most on the campaign trail: Why does he want to run again? Baker said he

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Marblehead temple to drop mandatory dues MARBLEHEAD -- It might be a sacred space, but even the house of God gets bills. Temples have traditionally paid those bills by charging mandatory dues for membership -- dues that could run into thousands of dollars a year. Now Temple Emanu-El has la

    April 17, 2014

  • North Shore residents to run in 2014 Boston Marathon

    The Salem News asked those on the North Shore who are running this year's Boston Marathon to share their reasons for running. 

    If you're running the marathon this year, it's not too late to share why you're running. Send a brief paragraph, a photo of yourself and a link to your fundraising site (if applicable) to Cheryl Richardson at crichardson@salemnews.com.

    April 17, 2014

  • Hunters call for an end to Sunday ban BOSTON -- Mike Prendergast likes spending time outdoors, hiking through the wilderness, sleeping under the stars, and taking aim with his compound bow on white-tailed deer and wild turkey from his perch in a tree. Working more than 50 hours a week as

    April 17, 2014