Mourning the death of Pete Seeger, distinguished citizen and devoted member of his community

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LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION mourning the death of Pete Seeger, distinguished
citizen and devoted member of his community

WHEREAS, It is the custom of this Legislative Body to pay tribute to
citizens of the State of New York whose lifework and civic endeavor
served to enhance the quality of life in their communities and the great
State of New York; and
WHEREAS, Pete Seeger of Beacon, New York, died on Monday, January 27,
2014, at the age of 94; and
WHEREAS, Pete Seeger was born in Patterson, New York, on May 3, 1919,
into an artistic family whose roots traced to colonial America; and
WHEREAS, His mother, Constance Edson Seeger, was a concert violinist
and educator; his father, Charles, a Harvard educated musicologist; and
WHEREAS, He began playing the ukulele as a boarding school student and
later would go on to learn the banjo, six-string guitar, twelve-string
guitar, and the recorder; and
WHEREAS, Pete Seeger also attended Harvard, and in 1938, got his first
semi-professional musical experience as a member of a touring puppet
theater; and
WHEREAS, He was drafted into the wartime Army in 1942, and served
honorably in the Pacific where he was trained as an airplane mechanic,
but was reassigned to provide much needed entertainment to the American
troops with music serving three and a half years in the Special Services
and achieving the rank of Corporal; and
WHEREAS, On July 20, 1943, he married Toshi-Aline Ohta, and remained
married for 69 years before Toshi's passing on July 9, 2013; and
WHEREAS, Pete Seeger and his wife Toshi first purchased a plot of land
in Beacon, New York, in 1949, living there first in a trailer, then in a
log cabin that they built themselves; and
WHEREAS, Pete Seeger embarked on a solo music career in 1958, record-
ing prolifically for Moses Asch's independent label Folkways, and helped
to stoke the "folk revival" of the late 1950s; and
WHEREAS, Pete Seeger contributed to the advancement of the Civil
Rights Movement through his performance of "We Shall Overcome" at the
25th Anniversary of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee with Rosa
Parks and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in attendance in
1957; and
WHEREAS, Pete and Toshi Seeger marched in the historic voting rights
marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in March of 1965; and
WHEREAS, In 1966, Pete and Toshi Seeger founded Hudson River Sloop
Clearwater, Inc. located in Beacon, New York, along with the Great
Hudson River Revival, an annual music and environmental festival that
takes place at Croton Point Park in Croton, New York; and
WHEREAS, Pete Seeger and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater were instru-
mental in the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, contributing to
cleaner waters throughout New York State and the nation that are more
fishable, swimmable, and drinkable; and
WHEREAS, Pete Seeger has been a recipient of numerous awards including
the National Medal of Arts, a Kennedy Center Honor, a Harvard Arts
Medal, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, and a George Peabody Medal;
WHEREAS, Pete Seeger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
in 1996, and also won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award along with the
Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album, Best Children's Album
which included former students from J.V. Forrestal Elementary School in
Beacon, New York, and a 2014 Grammy nomination for Best Audio Book; and

WHEREAS, Pete Seeger released dozens of albums and records along with
compiling a series of instructional songbooks over a career that spanned
most of the 20th Century as well as the beginning of the 21st Century
including a performance of "This Land Is Your Land" at the 2009 inaugu-
ration of President Barack Obama; and
WHEREAS, Throughout his storied musical career, Seeger collaborated
with countless other musical icons including Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan,
Bruce Springsteen, Joan Baez, the Stanley Brothers, Mississippi John
Hurt, Doc Watson, Reverend Gary Davis, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Neil
Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews; and
WHEREAS, His more than 100 songs will endure for generations to come
including his songs "Where Have All The Flowers Gone," "If I Had a
Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn," "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," and his self-
proclaimed modest contribution to "We Shall Overcome"; and
WHEREAS, Pete Seeger traveled all across New York State, including
Harlem, lending his voice, his music and his singular inspiration to
movements born of conscience and calling; and
WHEREAS, He was instrumental in drawing attention to the issue of lead
paint poisoning and aided in efforts to prevent it; was a partner in
many local movements committed to equality and social justice, including
seminal efforts that led to the eradication of apartheid; he was a vital
presence in helping to save and preserve community gardens in Harlem,
including the Joseph Daniel Wilson Memorial Gardens on West 122nd
Street; he played in support of the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign at
the Riverside Church in Harlem; he received an honorary doctorate from
the Manhattan School of Music which was presented at the Riverside
Church in Harlem and his passionate advocacy for the sanctity and envi-
ronmental health of the Hudson River, which graces the edges of West
Harlem has benefited generations of New Yorkers; and
WHEREAS, His survivors include his son, Daniel, along with his daugh-
ters, Mika and Tinya Seeger-Jackson; and
WHEREAS, Armed with a humanistic spirit and imbued with a sense of
compassion, courage, and humility, Pete Seeger leaves behind a legacy of
outspoken activism for civil rights, social justice, peace, and aware-
ness for our environment by inspiring generations to believe that they
can change the world by speaking out about the state of affairs in the
world, and using grassroots activism to make extraordinary accomplish-
ments; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
mourn the death of Pete Seeger, distinguished citizen and devoted member
of his community; and be it further
.SO DOC S R3386 RESO TEXT 2013
RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to the family of Pete Seeger.


  • 31 / Jan / 2014
  • 04 / Feb / 2014
  • 04 / Feb / 2014

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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