Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from American National Biography. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 January 2021


(31 Dec. 1930–2 Dec. 2008)
  • Rashod Ollison


Odetta (31 Dec. 1930–2 Dec. 2008), folk and blues singer was born Odetta Holmes in Birmingham, Alabama, to Ruben Holmes, who died when she was young, and Flora Sanders. During the Great Migration of African Americans out of the South, at about age six, Odetta moved to Los Angeles with her mother and younger sister. Shortly afterward the girl discovered a budding love for music and singing. Like many black singers of her generation, Odetta’s musical talent was initially nurtured in church. At thirteen she started professional voice lessons, which were briefly interrupted when her mother could no longer afford them. She soon found a benefactor in puppeteer Harry Burnette, who paid for her to continue....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription