Archive for July 2011

Madam C.J. Walker

Jul 21st, 2011 | By
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1867-1919  Madam C.J. Walker invented and marketed a line of hair and skin-care products specially designed for the needs of black women. She and her
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Thelonious Sphere Monk

Jul 20th, 2011 | By
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1917 – 1982  Thelonious Monk was a giant of the American jazz scene. His angular playing, odd compositions, use of space and silence, and uncompromising integrity were essential elements in the creation of the “Bebop” style. He left a legacy of recordings and compositions that show the birth of a whole new era in jazz,
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Charles Mingus

Jul 19th, 2011 | By
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1922-1979  Charles Mingus fused musical styles drawn from classical, swing, bop, Latin, and avant-garde genres to develop a wholly original form of composition. In performance, his bass playing was strong and unique; and in his career and practice, he strove to create opportunities for jazz artists while forcing himself and those around him to strive
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James P. Johnson

Jul 18th, 2011 | By
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1894-1955  James P. Johnson was the finest popular pianist of his time, the seminal creator of the stride style bridging ragtime and jazz, the composer of “The Charleston,” and the creator of long-form classical works that incorporated African American motifs. His influence on every key jazz musician who followed is incalculable, as was his “soundtrack
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Erroll Garner

Jul 17th, 2011 | By
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  1921-1977  Erroll Garner was a self-taught pianist of astonishing originality and virtuosic technique who bridged key elements of the swing and bebop eras in a style all his own. He was the most popular pianist of his time, and was equally appreciated by other jazz musicians, jazz fans, and music lovers of all kinds.
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Coleman Hawkins

Jul 16th, 2011 | By
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1904-1969  Coleman Hawkins was perhaps the most influential saxophone player of all time and was responsible for the instrument’s importance in jazz. He was the first to establish its legitimacy in the genre, and was able to evolve with shifting currents in the music over a 40-year period while maintaining his artistic leadership and distinctive
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Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.

Jul 15th, 2011 | By
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1877-1970  Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. dedicated his entire life and career to the military, beginning at a time when African Americans were consigned to support service roles with no command authority over whites. He rose to the rank of full General, advised the Army on integration strategies, and in the process contributed to the dismantling
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Eubie Blake

Jul 14th, 2011 | By
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1883?-1983  Eubie Blake was a prolifically talented composer and performer in ragtime, jazz, vaudeville, and popular styles. Over a career spanning much of the 20th century, he contributed over 1,000 songs to the popular canon, including several all-time classics. His musical “Shuffle Along” opened the Broadway stage to African Americans. Saloons to Stage Blake was
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Jim Beckwourth

Jul 13th, 2011 | By
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1798-1866 James Pierson Beckwourth was the only African American pioneer to record his exploits in the early days of the western frontier. He was involved in major events from Canada to Mexico and Florida to California, where he discovered the Beckwourth Pass through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Like his better-known contemporaries Daniel Boone, Kit Carson,
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James Baldwin

Jul 12th, 2011 | By
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1924-1987  Dividing his time between America and Europe, James Arthur Baldwin wrote numerous novels, essays, and plays that vividly depict the struggle of Blacks in white America. As an active member of the civil rights movement, Baldwin continually maintained that it was only through nonviolent action that racial equality could be obtained. Growing up as
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