Pete Seeger Awtt Portrait

Pete Seeger

Singer/Songwriter : b. 1919 - 2014

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´s name is synonymous with music. His parents, Charles, a musicologist, and Constance, a musician, both taught classical music at Juilliard. His stepmother Ruth Seeger was a composer. His half siblings, Mike and Peggy, are musicians, and Pete has often performed with his grandson Tao, a member of the band The Mammals.

Seeger’s love affair with folk music and the banjo began at a Folk Festival he attended when he was just sixteen. After two years of study at Harvard, he left college to travel around the country, singing and mastering his craft. In 1940, Seeger met Woody Guthrie. The two would later form the group the Almanac Singers, which combined folk music with activism on behalf of the labor movement.

In 1942, Seeger entered the Army, where he spent much of his time entertaining the soldiers with his music. In 1948, he took to the campaign trail with his music, traveling with Progressive Party Presidential candidate Henry Wallace.

That same year, 1948, he also founded The Weavers, a band that had mainstream success until Seeger’s ties to the Communist Party (he was a member from 1942 – 1950) caused the group to be blacklisted. He was subpoenaed before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955 for those affiliations. Instead of invoking the Fifth Amendment as many others had before him, Seeger took the unique stand of declaring that it the Committee´s actions were a violation of his First Amendment right of free speech.

Seeger draws on diverse musical cultures to create his songs, from African melodies to Appalachian spirituals; he even employees passages from the Bible, as in his song “Turn, Turn, Turn.” His folk music and ideas have touched the lives of people all over the world, garnering him a huge fan base and influencing many artists such as Bruce Springsteen, who in 2006 released a tribute album to Seeger called We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. In 2007, a documentary of his life was released entitled Pete Seeger: The Power of Song.


Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) offers a variety of ways to engage with its portraits and portrait subjects. Host an exhibit, use our free lesson plans and educational programs, or engage with a member of the AWTT team or portrait subjects.



AWTT has educational materials and lesson plans that ask students to grapple with truth, justice, and freedom.

Community Engagement

Exhibits & Community Engagement

AWTT encourages community engagement programs and exhibits accompanied by public events that stimulate dialogue around citizenship, education, and activism.


Shop AWTT products – prints, t-shirts, mugs, and more – to support education and community programming for Americans Who Tell the Truth. Know that you are helping inspire citizenship, activism, and work for the common good.

Contact Us to Learn How to Bring a Portrait Exhibit to Your Community.

We are looking forward to working with you to help curate your own portrait exhibit. Contact us to learn about the availability of the AWTT portraits, rental fees, space requirements, shipping, and speaking fees. Portraits have a reasonable loan fee which helps to keep the project solvent and accessible to as many people as possible. AWTT staff is able help exhibitors to think of creative ways to cover these expenses.

Bring Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) original portraits to your community.