Sunday, January 18, 2009

We Are One.

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen this afternoon at the "We are One" concert.

If you ever want to hear most the songs of the civil rights movement sung with an open heart, it would be worth it to try to find an early 60s recording of Pete Seeger with The Freedom Singers at Carnegie Hall (see top photo). Today, he and Bruce Springsteen lead thousands who sang one of our anthems --

This land is your land
This land is my land
From California
To the New York island
From the redwood forest
To the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking
A ribbon of highway
I saw above me
The endless skyway
I saw below me
That golden valley
This land is made for you and me.

Though today this has become a song that even Boy Scouts sing, it was not always so. The song was written by Woody Guthrie in the 50s. "We Shall Overcome" was reserved for singing as you were being arrested, but this song -- along with "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Hold On" -- were our marching songs, the ones that seemed to cause the spit and the racist comments to erupt in the early 60s.

I'm so happy to see the smiles on their faces today. Pete Seeger must be 90 years old by now, and he looks especially pleased to be sharing the song with The Boss. It would be hard to find two men more committed to the struggles of working people of any color. And Lauren was there to hear it.

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