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Thu, 02.11.1915

Josh White, Master of Folk/Blues born

Josh White 1945

*Josh White was born on this date in 1915. He was a Black Folk and Blues singer.

From Greenville, S.C. White started singing in churches as a child and left school at an early age to work in South Carolina, North Carolina, Chicago, and elsewhere as a guide and accompanist to blind street singers, including Blind John Henry Arnold, Blind Joe Taggart, Blind Blake, Blind Lemon Jefferson. In 1932 White moved to New York and started making a living as a professional guitarist and singer.

He made numerous blues recordings including Lazy Black Snake Blues 1932. He also recorded many religious songs too such as Pure Religion Hallilu 1933, under the name the Singing Christian, a year later he married Carol Carr. In the 1940s a larger white audience that moved towards folk music and radical politics enjoyed White, who made no secret of his leftist politics. He played with Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGhee at hootenannies, rent parties, and lofts.

It was during this time that she recorded Get Thee Behind Me with Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, and appeared on radio programs sponsored by the Office of War Information as well as performing and recording at the Library of Congress. In 1944 he performed with Paul Robeson in The Man Who Went To War, a radio operetta with a text by Langston Hughes. Other credits to him include playing at the inaugural ball for President Roosevelt in 1945.

After World War II, White became a prominent international entertainer. After denying Communist sympathies before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1950, he made a number of tours all over the world. An auto accident in 1966 forced him into retirement. Josh White died during open-heart surgery in Manhasset, New York in 1969.

To Become a Musician or Singer

Reference:

Cultural Equity.org

ASCAP Biographical Dictionary
R. R. Bowker Co., Copyright 1980
ISBN 0-8351-1283-1

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