We recently celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He fought for the equality of all people. My intent here is not to take away from this great man’s achievements. I simply wish to articulate on others who also fought in the turbulent 1960s for numerous causes throughout the world.
Through their music – Peter, Paul and Mary fought for social, political and humanitarian causes. Their music helped people achieve peace and sanity during the emotional years of the 1960s. The world was in upheaval with marches, demonstrations, and the Vietnam War.
Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey and Mary Travers became a group in 1961 at the dawn of John F. Kennedy’s Presidency. The trio’s songs told tales of freedom, resisting wars and inhumane situations. Peter, Paul and Mary marched on Washington with Martin Luther King in 1963. They sang their famous 1962 song “If I Had A Hammer” at this rally – supporting the struggle for racial equality.
Following is a statement by Theodore Bikel: “Listening to Peter, Paul and Mary is not just a memory trip recalling a part that was vibrant with folk music and activisom both intertwined. It evokes far more than a ride in a car-car, more than the ringing tones of the bell of justice, the bell of freedom. Regardless of their chronological ages – and I know what they are, I was there when the group was formed – Peter, Paul and Mary had managed – still manage – to keep themselves part of this nation’s youth. More important, they keep their audiences perennially young.”
The song “Blowin In The Wind” from 1963 was preformed at the March on Washington and also at: civil rights marches, anti-war marches and demonstrations. Their song in 1966 “The Cruel War” was a commitment to anti-war and Vietnam.
Marian Wright Edelman said: “Peter, Paul and Mary’s music is timeless because their message – and commitment to the belief that music can and should have a message – is timeless. They have been colleagues and friends in the long struggle for social justice and have always shared a vision of the better world possible for our children, and their songs have given us some of our clearest pictures of that world and all it’s promise.”
Following is a statement by Barry Alfonso: “Empathy through self-discovery is the thread that connect Peter, Paul, and Mary’s recordings from their debut through the present day. In turn the trio’s songs have become deeply woven into the fabric of the world’s cultural memory, part of the lives of countless people for over four decades. These songs continue to inspire, amuse, comfort, provoke, educate.”
Mary Travis is not with us anymore, but she will not be forgotten. Mary was diagnosed with leukemia in 2004. After a long battle of 5 years – on September 16, 2009 she died at the age of 72 of complications from chemo.
In the same year as Mary’s death (2009) the trio of Peter, Paul and Mary was inducted into the “Hit Parade Hall of Fame”. Still active and occasionally still preforming – Peter is now 81 years old and Paul is 82.