Thank You Joan

Early this morning, as the sun was rising, I was having my daily quiet prayer and worship time while sipping my coffee. I came across a most beautiful rendition of the African American spiritual, “Let Us Break Bread Together”, sung by the iconic 1960s folksinger, Joan Baez. I had not thought about Joan Baez, who is now 75, for many years. And I had forgotten that she sung gospel music. Her interpretation of this iconic spiritual was deeply moving. Memories of Karine and me singing that visceral gospel in her hot and humid church in Mississippi flooded over me. For a moment I was that sole little white girl sitting with my “angel” in life in that tiny, worn-down church. 

In this 2009 recording, Joan Baez also reminisced about the peaceful marches she participated in  with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1963, the height of civil unrest and racial segregation of that decade.  As well as being an iconic folksinger of the counter-culture of the ‘60s, she has had a lifelong commitment to political and social activism in civil rights. My thoughts turned to that fateful night in Memphis in 1968 when Dr. King was fatally shot, and my hometown went “silent”.

Today I say “thank you” to Joan Baez.