All entries by this author

James Weldon Johnson

Jul 6th, 2011 | By
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1871-1938  James Weldon Johnson was a multitalented and prolifically creative figure in the artistic, political, and civil rights domains of his era. He was responsible for seminal contributions in all of these realms, and was considered one of the primary drivers of both the Harlem Renaissance and the development of the NAACP into an effective
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Charles Chesnutt

Jul 5th, 2011 | By
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1858-1932  Charles Waddell Chesnutt distinguished himself as a prominent writer of short stories, essays, and novels. He addressed issues of race relations and slavery in his work, using irony and humor. Later in his career, he became a social and political activist. A Varied Beginning Chesnutt was born on June 20, 1858, to Andrew Jackson
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Count Basie

Jul 4th, 2011 | By
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1904-1984  William Basie used his training as an accompanist to develop one of the world’s greatest big bands with a “who’s who” of jazz singers, instrumentalists, composers, and arrangers. His precise piano style and swinging rhythm section set the standard for future artists, and attracted audiences and fans for over 50 years. Stranded in Kansas
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Roy Campanella

Jul 3rd, 2011 | By
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1921-1993  Roy Campanella rose through the ranks of baseball’s Minor and Negro Leagues to achieve fame as a Major League catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and in so doing helped to shatter the color barrier that barred black players from the majors. Mexican to Minor League Campanella was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 19,
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Dinah Washington

Jul 2nd, 2011 | By
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1924-1963 Dinah Washington was one of the most beloved, versatile, and popular singers of her generation and, indeed, in all of American popular music history. An artistic descendent of classic Blues Age divas such as Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, she built on her early gospel roots to master a wide range of genres. These
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Scott Joplin

Jul 1st, 2011 | By
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1868?-1917  Scott Joplin became a hugely popular composer twice over, once during his lifetime and again a half-century later. The “ragtime” style he popularized was a precursor to his other efforts in opera and orchestral music, and his rags are still performed by classical as well as jazz ensembles today. From Texas, Self-Taught Joplin was
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Roberta Martin

Jun 30th, 2011 | By
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1907-1969  Roberta Martin played a crucial role in the evolution of gospel music and in the development of the broad popularity that the form enjoys to this day. She combined classical piano training with profound spirituality to create a unique sound, while launching the careers of many gospel greats. Chicago Sound Martin was born in
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Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable

Jun 29th, 2011 | By
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1745?-1818  Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable was an intrepid pioneer and settler in the areas now known as Peoria and Chicago, Illinois. His foresight in
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Benjamin Banneker

Jun 28th, 2011 | By
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1731-1806 Benjamin Banneker overcame the hurdles of racial prejudice and a disadvantaged childhood to become a self-taught surveyor, clock-maker, mathematician, and astronomer. He published a highly regarded almanac, and earned the respect of prominent colleagues in the federal government. He thereby served as an important exemplar of the fundamental equality of the races, the talents
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Henry Ossawa Tanner

Jun 27th, 2011 | By
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1859-1937 Henry Ossawa Tanner was the preeminent black artist of the 19th century, and the first African American painter to be recognized internationally as a master in the Naturalist traditions of American art. He found his true vision, and recognition, only after journeying to Paris to live and work, and ultimately to the Holy Land
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