Pete Seeger and the Power of Forgiveness

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

As told by Michael Kobluk of the Chad Mitchell Trio:

In the 1950’s, folksinger, Burl Ives ‘turned’ on Pete in response to questions from the House Committee on Unamerican Activities regarding Pete’s inferred Communist leanings.

As a result, Pete was blacklisted…banned from television and radio while Ives enjoyed a burgeoning and successful acting carreer. Though they had been good friends in the 40’s and 50’s, they never spoke again until a rehearsal in 1995 at the 92nd St. “Y”.

We were all aware of ‘tension’ in the hall as the rehearsal time approached.  Burl Ives, confined to a wheel chair, was wheeled out onto the stage for his sound check.
Pete, sitting in the audience with the rest of us, rose, took his banjo and made his way onto the stage. After a quiet word with Burl, gave him a hug and suggested they rehearse the couple of songs they’d sing together at the end. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

It was a very emotional, absolutely beautiful moment.

No more than 4 months later, Burl Ives passed away.

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