Joan Chandos Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice.
The early years of Joan Baez’s career saw the civil-rights movement in the U.S. become a prominent issue. Her performance of “We Shall Overcome”, the civil-rights anthem, at King’s 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom permanently linked her to the song. Baez again sang “We Shall Overcome” in Sproul Plaza during the mid-1960s Free Speech Movement demonstrations at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, and at many other rallies and protests.
Baez was instrumental in founding the USA section of Amnesty International in the 1970s, and has remained an active supporter of the organization.
On Earth Day 1999, Baez and Bonnie Raitt honored environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill with Raitt’s Arthur M. Sohcot Award in person on her 180-foot (55 m)-high redwood treetop platform, where Hill had camped to protect ancient redwoods in the Headwaters Forest from logging.