This song was inspired by Pete Seeger's testimony in August 1955 before the The House Committee on Un-American Activities. The committee declined Pete’s offer to sing to them. He would not take the 5th Amendment (against self-incrimination) but refused to answer any questions about others’ political activities. He was sentenced to prison for contempt of Congress. His family expected him to go to prison for several years. Toshi became so frustrated by the uncertainty that she remarked “Just take him away!” Finally his conviction was overturned on appeal so he never did go to prison.