I read with interest the Stephen Mihm column, “Pete Seeger and His Money” (Feb. 2 Perspectives). I saw Pete Seeger, who died last week at age 94, in concert two or three times, usually with Arlo Guthrie. I don’t know if the measure of a man is what he does when no one is watching. I do know that at an outdoor amphitheater in Michigan, I sneaked backstage to try to ask Pete Seeger to appear at a benefit concert at a bar my friend opened on the South Side. The bar had a labor theme, but it closed before the big bar boom in that area.
When I got to the back of the amphitheater, Mr. Seeger was outside; he was alone — no roadies or crew. With just his hands, he was picking up litter in the woods! He was throwing away litter left behind by others: cigarette packs, soda cans, little pieces of paper, cigarettes butts, etc. This was about 20 minutes before he was due to go on stage. He was then polite and helpful to this guy who talked to him who wasn’t even supposed to be back there.
I walked away thinking that he was certainly a man who practiced what he preached.