Pete Seeger, at W.T. Clarke

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One month later — and three months after the concert date had passed — the lawsuit was taken up by the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, which ruled that the Appellate Division was wrong to dismiss the appeal. “That the constitutional issues posed by this case are substantial and, indeed, of high public importance, there can be no doubt,” read the ruling. “The expression of controversial and unpopular views … is precisely what is protected by both the Federal and State Constitutions.”

From W.T. Clarke to the L.A. Times

Hiltzik, 61, did not attend the concert. He was a freshman at the time, and says now that he was largely unaware of Seeger’s music and the attendant politics.

Now a business columnist at the Times, Hiltzik writes a weekly column and blog. After graduating from Clarke in 1969, he wrote for the school newspaper at Colgate University, studied journalism at Columbia University, and wrote for the Buffalo Courier-Express and the Providence Journal-Bulletin before being recruited by a former editor to join the Times. “It’s been great,” he said of his years there. “They’ve sent me around the world.”

In 1999, he shared the Pulitzer Prize with a colleague, Chuck Phillips, for their year-long, three-part series on corruption in the music industry.

His piece on Seeger, he said, has received considerable feedback, particularly from old Clarke classmates he had previously lost contact with. “I always knew about it,” Hiltzik said of the concert and lawsuit, “and [I’ve] always been intrigued and interested that the school was at the center of this controversy. So when [Seeger] died, I said, ‘This is a great opportunity.’”

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