UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Pete Seeger’s notable UNCG concert of 1983

Image of Pete Seeger's story in The CarolinianLegendary folk singer Pete Seeger died this week. He was 94. Seeger was one of the most influential figures in popular American music, with a career that began in the 1940’s.

When he played at UNCG’s Aycock Auditorium in October 1983, there were rumors the Klan would protest. They did not like that Seeger was going to donate proceeds from the concert to the Greensboro Civil Rights Fund. It would help widows of those killed in the 1979 shootings at Morningside Homes. The Carolinian reported about 150 onlookers gathered to see; more than 100 police were on hand. No Klan protested. According to Carolinian writer Bob Pearson, the liberal activist Pete Seeger remarked as he entered the back entrance of Aycock, “I hope they (the Klan) keep it peaceful; they have a right to picket too.”

Carolinian writer Homer Yost noted Seeger’s banjo bears the words, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”

“Maybe Seeger’s banjo was what spooked the KKK Sunday,” Yost wrote.

One of the last songs of his performance that evening in front of 800 people began, “I am a truthful man from the land of the palm trees and before dying, I want to share these poems of my soul….”

Yost concluded his report by saying, “These words also tell us why Pete Seeger is another one of those American folk heroes who will live beyond his own life-time. He believes in truth — like grass growing through the cracks of concrete, it refuses to die. And he has always planted his feet alongside poor working people.”

The Carolinian articles courtesy UNCG Digital Collections.
October 11, 1983 edition.
October 13, 1983 edition.

By Mike Harris