Artist Catalog

Josh White

Born: February 11 1914
Born in: Greenville, South Carolina, US
Links:

AllMusic

Albums:
Genres:
  • folk
  • death by heart surgery
  • erroll garner

Josh White

Joshua Daniel "Josh" White (February 11, 1914 – September 5, 1969) was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, actor and civil rights activist. He also recorded under the names Pinewood Tom and Tippy Barton in the 1930s.

White grew up in the South during the 1920s and 1930s. He became a prominent race records artist, with a prolific output of recordings in genres including Piedmont blues, country blues, gospel music, and social protest songs. In 1931, White moved to New York, and within a decade his fame had spread widely. His repertoire expanded to include urban blues, jazz, traditional folk songs, and political protest songs, and he was in demand as an actor on radio, Broadway, and film.

White became the closest black friend and confidant of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. However, White's anti-segregationist and international human rights political stance presented in many of his recordings and in his speeches at rallies were subsequently used by McCarthyites as a pretext for labeling him a communist to slander and harass him. From 1947 through the mid-1960s, White was caught up in the anti-communist Red Scare, and as a consequence his career was damaged. However White's musical style would go on to influence several generations of musical artists.