Social Justice Activists | Joan Baez

Joan Baez photoJoan Baez is an American Folk singer and activist born on January 9, 1941 in Staten Island, New York.  Joan spent her childhood singing in local choirs. After graduating from High School in Los Angeles, she moved back east with her family and attended Boston University. She eventually dropped out to sing in local coffee houses and in the famous Club 47 in Boston. Joan was a key player in the revival of folk music & she helped Bob Dylan become popular, who she had a very public relationship with.

Joan became widely popular due to her performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 1959 and 1960. In 1963, Joan sang "We Shall Overcome" at the March on Washington alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “We Shall Overcome” became an anthem of the civil-rights movement. In addition to supporting civil rights, Baez also participated in the antiwar movement, calling for an end to the conflict in Vietnam. Many of her songs promote social justice and civil rights.

Joan sang at many civil rights marches and rallies in the mid 1960’s. She made free concert appearances on behalf of UNESCO and other civil rights organizations. In 1965, she founded the Institute for the Study of Non-Violence in Carmel, California.


Sources Used & Additional reading:

Baez, Joan. (2005). In J. Uglow, F. Hinton & M. Hendry (Eds.), The Palgrave MacMillan Dictionary of women's biography. Basingstoke, United Kingdom: Macmillan Publishers Ltd. Retrieved from

Baez, Joan (Chandos). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica, Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from