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Larvester Gaither

musician widely known for his socially and politically conscious lyrics, antiwar activism, and promotion of yoga, was born in Oakland, California, to an interracial couple. His father, Tom Hopkins, was African American and his mother, Mary Rodrick, was of Irish, German, and French ancestry. Fearing a negative response from her family, Roderick gave up her son for adoption. After seven months in foster care, he was adopted by the Finnish American couple Charles Franti, a biostatistics professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, and his wife, Carol Wisti, a school teacher. The devoutly Lutheran couple raised Franti and his four siblings in Davis, California, a college town located seventy-five miles north of San Francisco.

At an early age Franti took an interest in literature and was exposed to the writings of Malcolm X, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Frederick Douglass , and Martin Luther King Jr. ...