July 18 (Wednesday)

Queen of Political Folk Music
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 Joan Chandos Baez
Full Name: Joan Chandos Baez
Born: Jan. 9, 1941 in New York City, New York

Joan Baez was born on Staten Island and currently lives on the other side of the country in California. Blessed with a hauntingly beautiful voice, her career as a singer and political activist similarly spans the country.

During the 1960s, Baez ranked with Bob Dylan as the most familiar voice of the revolution. A staunch opponent of the war in Vietnam, the “Queen of Folk,” as Baez became known, was arrested twice in 1967 for blocking the entrance of the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland, California. She later commented, “I went to jail for eleven days for disturbing the peace; I was trying to disturb the war.”

Baez was married for a time to David Hill, an anti-Vietnam War protester who was eventually imprisoned for draft resistance. In 1989, she performed at a music festival in communist Czechoslovakia. Czech President Václav Havel cited her as a great inspiration and influence in that country’s Velvet Revolution which overthrew the Soviet-dominated government.

Like so many other icons of the 60’s, Baez later sold out, performing for President Obama.