Odetta: “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Odetta Holmes was a highly influential African American folk artist throughout her career and the Civil Rights Movement.

Who was Odetta?

Odetta was a singer, actress, and civil rights activist. Her music consisted mostly of folk, blues, jazz, and spirituals. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama but moved to LA as a child which is when her talent was discovered.  She received training and studied music in college, after college, her career started in musical theater and then eventually she decided that she wanted to focus on folk music. From there her career took off! 

Some Popular Songs Sang by Odetta

How Was She Influential During the Civil Rights Movement?

Odetta preformed at March on Washington in 1963, a march held to advocate for the civil and economic rights of African Americans. She preformed and sang at many civil rights events including a civil rights special on TV with President Kennedy. she was recognized by prominent civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King jr. and Rosa parks for how influential and inspiring inspiring the songs she sung were for those involved and alive during the Civil Rights Movement. 


Not only was Odetta what some people called “the Queen of Folk Music,” she was also an inspiration for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. She inspired and helped many through those tough times with her voice and the power of song. Earning her the titile of “the Voice of The Civil Rights Movement!”


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