Odetta, Voice of Civil Rights Movement, Dies at 77

odetta-holmes

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Tuesday, December 2, 2008 — 11:48 PM ET

Published: December 2, 2008

Odetta, the singer whose deep voice wove together the strongest songs of American folk music and the civil rights movement, died Tuesday. She was 77.

The cause was heart disease, said her manager, Doug Yeager.

He added that she had been hoping to sing at Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Odetta — she was born Odetta Holmes — sang at coffeehouses and Carnegie Hall and released several albums, becoming one of the most widely known and influential folk-music artists of the 1950s and 60s.

Her voice was an accompaniment to the black-and-white images of the freedom marchers who walked the roads of Alabama and Mississippi and the boulevards of Washington in quest of an end to racial discrimination.

Rosa Parks, the woman who started the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Ala., was once asked which songs meant the most to her. She replied, “All of the songs Odetta sings.”

The thoughtful and detailed Obituary continues here at the NY Times Site.

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Published in: on December 3, 2008 at 12:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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