Music, The Heart Of The Anti War Movement

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Music, particularly folk, was at the heart of the anti-war movement. In the 1960s, music was “tied to social change” and Americans were “emotionally close…to sixties music”, despite there being “little agreement on what folk music is”. Joan Baez “got the whole ethic of nonviolence at an early age” from her Quaker upbringing. In addition to her pacifist background, Baez took an interest in Ghandi and Martin Luther King from a young age. After hearing King speak at a high school event at fifteen, Baez said King ““solidified what I had already felt from learning about Ghandi”” and that ““[h]earing about the boycotts…hearing this man speak and knowing he was a part of it—brought the actuality of [nonviolence] into my life for the first time””. Baez and her family moved from California to Massachusetts, where Baez became a “coffeehouse sensation and then [went] to the Newport Folk Festival where she establishes herself as a star”. Through her musical activism, Baez embodies the New Left’s involvement in the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war protests, particularly through nonviolence means. Baez’s work in the civil rights movement was so influential that she was able to recruit both Stephen Stills and David Crosby into the movement. Stills says that ““Baez inspired me with [her] work with Martin.”” Crosby admits that Baez has “raised [his] consciousness on so many issues…in this country and all around the world”. It is through her influence on other artists that Baez
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