Published: May 30, 2018

Joan Baez with President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s.

Legendary singer-songwriter Joan Baez is also well-known for her activism. In addition to performing at Woodstock, Baez was highliy visable in anti-war marches and encouraged draft resistance at her concerts.So, it was a considerable surprise to many when she publicly spoke out against the Vietnamese Government’s persecution of suspected pro-American populations in the south after the fall of South Vietnam in 1975. A number of her former anti-war colleagues denounced her bitterly in the press, describing her defense of the boat people and incarcerated Vietnamese, as well as her criticism of the new Vietnamese government as a betrayal of her old stances.

In 1979 Baez set up Humanitas International to focus attention on prisoners in Vietnam. She developed this human rights committee to attract attention to the plight of refugees in Cambodia, Vietnam and later in South America as well. The group worked to focus attention on human rights violations in Vietnam, the boat people, the plight of Cambodian refugees, human rights violations in Latin America, and elsewhere, as well as supporting disarmament, nonviolence, and opposing the death penalty. The Archives Humanitas International Collection contains correspondence, minutes, finances, publications, newspaper clippings, subject files, audio/visual materials, and information on other organizations.

100 stories for 100 Years logoThe University of Colorado Boulder Libraries will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Archives on June 6, 2018. This is story #92 in our series: 100 Stories for 100 Years from the Archives!