Arts & Entertainment

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Jun 17th, 2011 | By
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1921-1973  Sister Rosetta Tharpe rose from the Sanctified tradition of church music to become one of the most famous performers of her time, bridging gospel and blues genres, and black and white audiences, with an inspirational vocal and guitar style all her own. In so doing, she pioneered the new form of pop-gospel music and
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Jimmy Rushing

Jun 16th, 2011 | By
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1901?-1972  Jimmy Rushing lent his distinctive tenor voice to many of jazz’s great big bands, and he then emerged equally powerfully as solo artist. He personified the evolution of African American music from its blues roots to jazz expression, and brought a unique sensitivity and understanding to the lyrics he so joyfully sang. Violin, Piano,
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Ma Rainey

Jun 15th, 2011 | By
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1886-1939  Ma Rainey was the first known minstrel and variety performer to incorporate the “country blues” style in her singing, fueling an explosion in the genre’s popularity. She built a successful recording career on her live shows’ success, and finally devoted herself to charity and church work when the early blues era had passed. Ma
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Mahalia Jackson

Jun 14th, 2011 | By
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1911 – 1972  Mahalia Jackson expressed an uplifting spiritual force with a unique voice and musical style, combining elements of Sanctified, Baptist, Blues, and Jazz music. Her ability to convey a moving sense of hope and human aspiration touched audiences worldwide, and made Gospel music the broadly popular genre it is today. Jackson was born
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Nat King Cole

Jun 13th, 2011 | By
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1917-1965  Nat King Cole enjoyed hugely successful careers in both jazz, as a pianist and group leader, and popular music as a singer. He bridged many worlds of entertainment, and was a mellow-voiced artistic ambassador to audiences worldwide. Chicago Jazz Born Nathaniel Coles in 1917 in Montgomery, Alabama, Cole and his family moved to Chicago
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Sonny Terry

Jun 11th, 2011 | By
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1911-1986  Sonny Terry developed a unique sound on the harmonica, while melding folk and blues traditions, and with his long-time partner Brownie McGhee popularized the style for broad audiences nationwide and globally. He became the best-known harmonica player of his time, and one of the most famous folk/blues musicians ever, influencing subsequent generations of artists
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Paul Robeson

Jun 4th, 2011 | By
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1898-1976  Paul Robeson devoted his enormous talent to working on behalf of those oppressed by circumstances of race and class. After becoming one of the most famous and beloved performers in the world, and then an outspoken advocate for human rights, he was tragically crushed by political forces, a victim of the Cold War. Early
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Clyde McPhatter

Jun 3rd, 2011 | By
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1932-1972  Clyde McPhatter was one of the great lead R&B singers of the 1950s. His emotive high tenor voice led his vocal group, The Drifters, to tremendous popularity. His subsequent solo career brought him pop chart cross-over success, and a career that prefigured the development of both the rock and roll and soul genres. Gospel
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Leadbelly

Jun 2nd, 2011 | By
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1885-1949  Huddie Ledbetter, aka Leadbelly, played a pivotal role in the development of modern music. Interpreting songs and stories from the South, he exerted a powerful influence on musicologists and folk musicians, influencing popular music’s evolution. Music and Violence Leadbelly was born to sharecroppers on a plantation near Mooringsport, Louisiana in 1885. At the age
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Zora Neale Hurston

Jun 1st, 2011 | By
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1891-1960  Zora Neale Hurston combined a talent for fiction with an understanding of African American customs, to produce several famous literary works. In so doing, she was a key contributor to the Harlem Renaissance, a pioneer in capturing the richness of southern black culture, and an early feminist in her insights into the plight of
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