If I Had A Hammer covers 60 years in the social justice movements in the United States through the life and music of Pete Seeger. The labor, civil rights, anti-war, women’s liberation, and environmental movements blossomed throughout Seeger’s life and career, and are reflected in his music. Along the way, Seeger’s life intersected with some of the great activists in American history. Stella Nowicki, Dorothy Cotton, Philip Berrigan, Byllye Avery, and Lois Gibbs add to the narratives of the various movements.
Seeger has been a singer and songwriter since 1939. He traveled the country performing with Woody Guthrie and both performed for a time with The Almanac Singers. In the early 1950s, Pete was a member of The Weavers a piopular neo-folk group. Seeger was Blacklisted during the McCarthy era for suspected communist sympathies, as well as for refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1955.
Seeger has penned and performed many of the great protest songs of the 20th centruy, iuncluding 1949’s “If I Had a Hammer,” and the Vietnam-era anti-war anthem “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” Since the 1970s, his activist has cetnered the New York organization Clearwater, which advocates for the ecological resuscitation of the Hudson River.
- Tim BrachokiProducer