Josh White (American folk-blues singer/songwriter)
Legal name: Joshua Daniel White
Also performs as: Pinewood Tom
Joshua Daniel White (February 11, 1914 – September 5, 1969), known as Josh White, 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.
White's musical style influenced future generations of musical artists, including Brownie McGhee, Pete Seeger, Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte, Lonnie Donegan, Eartha Kitt, Alexis Korner, Odetta, Elvis Presley, Tracy Chapman, Joan Armatrading, the Kingston Trio, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Merle Travis, Dave Van Ronk, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, Eric Weissberg, Judy Collins, Mike Bloomfield, Danny Kalb, Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, Richie Havens, Don McLean, Roy Harper, Ry Cooder, John Fogerty, Eva Cassidy and Jack White.