From the earliest years of her career, singer and activist Joan Baez has maintained an unwavering commitment to social, political, and humanitarian causes. A vital force in the folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, Baez was in her teens when she began singing and playing the guitar in Boston-area coffeehouses. Her performances at the 1959 and 1960 Newport Folk Festivals won her legions of fans and were followed by the release of a series of immensely popular recordings. Baez’s immersion in the civil rights movement was reflected in her growing repertoire of protest songs, and in 1963 she performed at the March on Washington. Strongly opposed to the Vietnam War, Baez participated in numerous antiwar protests. Jailed for “disturbing the peace,” she later explained that she was “trying to disturb the war.”
Baez came to this portrait session directly from Stanford University, where she had helped defuse tensions that threatened to spark an antiwar riot.