Once held in contempt, Seeger now mourned

A host of Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill mourned the death of folk singer Pete Seeger on Tuesday.

Democrats celebrated his songs that dealt with a number of progressive issues — including civil rights, the labor movement, the environment and the anti-war movement. Seeger died in New York on Monday at the age of 94.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a leader of the civil rights movement in his own right, said the singer “used his voice and his instrument to carry the message of peace, nonviolent love, and social justice all across America.”

The warm words after Seeger’s death stand in contrast to Congress holding him in contempt in the 1950s after he refused to testify before a House Committee on Un-American Activities regarding his prior political affiliations in the Communist Party.

Democrats eulogized him by tweeting some of his most famous songs, emphasizing causes he championed and remembering key performances from the singer songwriter.

President Obama and his wife also mourned Seeger's death. Seeger sang at the president’s first inauguration, performing the full version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

“For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger,” Obama said in a statement.