This Day in History

Jan. 2, 1962: NBC Bans Weavers for Refusal to Sign Loyalty Oath

Time Periods: 1961
Themes: Art & Music

The Weavers, one of the most significant and popular music groups of the post World War II era, had their scheduled appearance for Jan. 2, 1962 on the NBC Jack Paar Show cancelled when they refused to sign an oath of political loyalty.

Long targeted by McCarthyism, group member Lee Hays stated, “we feel very strongly that no private business establishment such as NBC has the power or the right to require proof of any citizen’s patriotism.”

The Weavers were originally Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, and Pete Seeger. Erik Darling replaced Seeger in 1958.

This post draws from Today in Civil Liberties History and

Learn More

Wasn’t That a Time: The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America (Da Capo Press, 2018) by Jesse Jarnow

1982 PBS documentary, The Weavers: Wasn’t That a Time.

Lessons and articles below by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca on the Cold War and on McCarthyism.