February 10, 2017

Singer, songwriter and social activist Joan Baez was born on January 9, 1941, in Staten Island, New York, in a Quaker household, her family eventually relocating to the Southern California area. Of Mexican and Scottish descent, Baez was no stranger to racism and discrimination. But that did not stop her from pursuing her natural musical talents. She became a vocalist in the folk tradition and was a crucial part of the music genre's commercial rebirth in the 1960s, devoting herself to the guitar in the mid-1950s.

The 1960s were a turbulent time in American history, and Baez often used her music to express her social and political views. Baez thus became an established, revered folk artist who used her voice for widespread change. She sang "We Shall Overcome" at the March on Washington in 1963 that featured the iconic words and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.A revered anthem of the Civil Rights Movement, “We Shall Overcome” also became a top 40 hit for Baez in the U.K. in 1965. She achieved her first top 10 single in Great Britain later that year with “There But for Fortune,” also finding success with the Dylan-penned tune “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue.” In addition to supporting civil rights as an artist and worker, Baez participated in university free-speech efforts led by students and the antiwar movement, calling for an end to the conflict in Vietnam. Beginning in 1964, she would refuse to pay part of her taxes to protest U.S. military spending for a decade. Baez was also arrested twice in 1967 in Oakland, California, for blocking an armed forces induction centers.

Source: Bio