The John Steinbeck Award

Joan Baez

With her smooth soprano voice and her steadfast commitment to pacifism and civil rights, Joan Baez was a major figure both in the 60's folk music scene and in the civil rights movement. In those turbulent times, Baez sang and spoke of freedom everywhere from the Royal Albert Hall in London to the back of flatbed trucks in Mississippi to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the historic March on Washington. On those steps in 1963, Baez led 500,000 people in singing "We Shall Overcome." On February 26, 2003, Baez received the Steinbeck Award at a reception after a benefit concert at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City. Just a few days prior, Baez had been in San Francisco taking part in an anti-war rally.