Skip to main content

If you look carefully at the stationary on this note to me from Pete Seeger, you will see a monster on the left, labeled "pollution," and what could only be the Good Sloop Clearwater coming to the rescue.

The backstory is under the squiggles:

In 1982, when I was just out of college and toying with the idea of becoming a topical singer/songwriter, there was a murder with racial undertones here in Brooklyn of a man named Willie Turks. I wrote a song about it, and when there was a demonstration about his death, I sang it a cappella to the organizers over the phone. They were moved enough by it to put this young, white kid -I think I was the only white person - on the agenda.

A few months later, Pete sang at Brooklyn College, and mentioned this incident shortly before intermission. During the break, I scuttled backstage, gained rapport by mentioning my elementary school music teacher, Margot Mayo, who had introduced the two of them to each other at a square dance (Margot also became the Godmother of their children), and told them that I had written this song. I offered to sing it to them, but Pete asked me to send it to him instead, and gave me his snail address (the only address possible in 1982). His reply is above.


Just for the heck of it, I found the flyer for the rally at which I sang the song.  It went over well....

Unfortunately, there was an incident in Howard Beach not long after this, so no one remembers Mr. Turks much anymore.

And that is ironic, because the song was about how we tend to forget the names of those who were slain, but rather remember the numbers killed: when we think of 9/11, for example, or Newtown, or Aurora, to name a few tragic events since, we remember the numbers, not the individuals.  It was titled, "Remember Their Names."

UPDATE 1/29/2014

I'm humbled to make my first Rec list!!!!


Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site