|A Los Angeles Childhood - The Queen of American Folk Music - Odetta Part 2|
|Sunday, 11 December 2011 19:11|
Odetta was born New Year's Eve, 1930, Odetta Holmes, in Birmingham Alabama but grew up just as I had, in Los Angeles and both of us went to Los Angeles City College. Odetta studied opera at the age of 13. In her career she influenced many singers including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Mavis Stapes. She was considered the voice of the Civil Rights Movement. If you heard her sing those spirituals you would know she felt the suffering of all those who came before her. To hear her speak even in June of 2008 as I did not too soon before her death as she continued to sing with the use of oxygen and using a wheelchair that she lived the life that gave hope and comfort to many of us all around the world.
In 1963 Martin Luther King anointed her "The Queen of American Folk Music at the March on Washington when she sang, "Oh Freedom". She was that voice booming out round and full awakening those who slept at a time when we were all being called forth to bring about equality, not for just those thousands who heard her that day but for all of us. There is a saying that if even one of us is not free, we are all slaves.
Odetta, honored by President Clinton in 1999 with the National Endowment for the Arts Medal, and in 2004 was honored with the Visioning Award and in 2005 by the Library of Congress with the Living Legend Award. There were many other national and international honors that were bestowed on her.
Odetta died December 2, 2008 in New York City. It was odd to find a tribute to her this past week in 2011 in the obits from the Santa Fe New Mexican. Memory comes back in on itself and for some reason online I was meant to see it and share it. I posted it on Facebook and within 3 seconds three people had responded. Many of us remember her impact on our lives. May her name be for a blessing!
Thank you for reading this blog about a person who had meaning in my life, where we all experience those early childhood losses, here is a memory found in Not Just A Jewish Book Blog.