Peaceful Protest: Fueling World Change Through Music

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The 1960’s, or just “The Sixties” as that era has come to be called, was characterized by the countercultural movements and political reformations that occurred during that period. During that short window of time the world was facing a number of political issues such as the Vietnam War, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the Nuclear Missile Crisis, as well as social movements like the Civil Rights Movement, the emergence of feminism, the labor movement, anti-war efforts, and the sexual revolution. One way that participants of these movements would spread their influence and cause was through the use of protest music. One of the most influential singers within this protest music genre was Pete Seeger.

Pete Seeger was an American folk singer that became widely famous in the 1960’s when he became a prominent protest singer, advocating things such as the anti-war movement, environmentalism, and the civil rights movement. Seeger was an advocate of peace, and for dealing with conflict without the use of violence. Because of his passion for peace, he co-wrote some of the most famous anti-war songs in history- one of which was “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” Pete Seeger only composed some of this song, the rest of which was composed by a young man named Joe Hickerson. He was inspired to write this song after reading a novel about Czarist Russia. Through the fashion in which he wrote the lyrics, Seeger is emphasizing how war has been an unbreakable cycle throughout history. This song was released right around the time of anti-Vietnam War protests, so it went from a modest folk song almost to an anthem within the anti-war movement.

“Where have all the flowers gone? Young girl have picked them everyone.
Where have a...

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...We Shall Overcome,” these words symbolize a time of great hope, reform, and freedom that still echoes in the hearts and minds of those who lived it, and provides empowerment for the new generation’s challenges.

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