Woody Seeger's Song 'This Land Is Your Land'

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2. 2 Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan. In 2008 after the victory of Barack Obama in the Presidential Elections, Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen performed a song onstage called “This Land Is Your Land”. The song, written in 1940, was first called “God Bless America For Me” and even though it was not written specifically for the Civil Rights Movement, it was appropriated by it and became one of the many songs sung in sit ups and marches. Woody Guthrie’s story and his involvement with the Civil Rights Movements can be challenging to explain. Born in 1912, he died in 1967 suffering from Huntington Disease, that had gotten him admitted in two psychiatric hospitals from 1956 until his death. Therefore, he was not present in most of the events of the Civil Rights Movement. After a complicated childhood with a mother suffering from Huntington’s Disease and the death of one of his sisters in a fire, he started engaging in the study of oriental philosophy and music. A…show more content…
As it is common for protest songs, there are several versions of the lyrics, but the main message remains in the idea that America is the land of the people, and that they should take back the land that, as Woody Guthrie says, was “made for you and me”. The song is also important because it signifies the slight and controversial relationship that the Civil Rights Movement shared with communism. As Myles Horton recalls in Everybody Says Freedom, a book written by Pete Seeger and Bob Raiser, “anytime anyone ever helped black people, the politicians would scream ‘Communists’- so as far as local people were concerned, ‘Communist was a name for people who would help them” (6). He was the founder of the Highlander Folk School, an institutions that created workshops for unions in Knoxville, Tennessee and helped set up schools for black communities in the South, as well as create the SNCC and the
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