President Barack Obama released a statement Tuesday morning praising Pete Seeger as a force for music and social justice. The folk hero, one of America’s most important figures of the 20th century, died yesterday in New York at 94.
“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. Over the years, Pete used his voice — and his hammer — to strike blows for worker’s rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation. And he always invited us to sing along. For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayer to Pete’s family and all those who loved him.”
Other prominent political figures are beginning to chime in, including a former president and both of Seeger’s senators in New York.
Pete Seeger’s great heart was matched only by his commitment to social justice. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) January 28, 2014
From California to the NY islands, Pete Seeger hammered out justice & freedom on his five string banjo.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 28, 2014
One of #NY‘s greats–and one of America’s musical icons, Pete Seeger, has died. He will truly be missed, but his music will live on.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) January 28, 2014
Sing a song for Pete Seeger — for justice — today. We mourn his loss, all over this land.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) January 28, 2014