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William Lee Conley “Big Bill” Broonzy

August 15th in African American History – William Lee Conley “Big Bill” Broonzy

August 15, 1958 William Lee Conley “Big Bill” Broonzy, blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist, died. Broonzy was born June 26, 1898 in Lake Dick, Arkansas but raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He began playing music at an early age and at the age of ten made himself a fiddle from a cigar box and began […]

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Ella Jenkins

August 6th in African American History – Ella Jenkins

August 6, 1924 Ella Jenkins, folk singer and “The First Lady of the Children’s Folk Song,” was born in St. Louis, Missouri but grew up in Chicago, Illinois. In 1951, Jenkins earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with minors in child psychology and recreation from San Francisco State University. After graduating, she began […]

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Christopher “Chris” Tucker

August 31st in African American History – Christopher “Chris” Tucker

August 31, 1972 Christopher “Chris” Tucker, comedian and actor, was born in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating from high school, Tucker moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in comedy and movies. He made his film debut in “House Party 3” (1994) and his first major role was in the 1995 film “Friday.”

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Lionel Leo Hampton

August 31st in African American History – Lionel Leo Hampton

August 31, 2002 Lionel Leo Hampton, jazz vibraphonist and band leader, died. Hampton was born April 20, 1908 in Louisville, Kentucky. While still a teenager, he played the xylophone and drums. In 1936, he joined the Benny Goodman Quartet, making it one of the first racially integrated jazz groups to record and play before wide […]

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Robert Lee Parish

August 30th in African American History – Robert Lee Parish

August 30, 1953 Robert Lee Parish, hall of fame basketball player, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. Parish played college basketball at Centenary College of Louisiana and earned his B. A. degree in 1976. Parish was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the 1976 NBA Draft and traded to the Boston Celtics in 1980.

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Marie Roach Knight

August 30th in African American History – Marie Roach Knight

August 30, 2009 Marie Roach Knight, gospel and R&B singer, died. Knight was born June 1, 1920 in Sanford, Florida. She first toured with evangelist Frances Robinson. In 1946, she made her first recordings as a member of The Sunset Four. That same year, Knight met Sister Rosetta Tharp, and they performed and recorded together […]

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Melvin Beaunorus Tolson

August 29th in African American History – Melvin Beaunorus Tolson

August 29, 1966 Melvin Beaunorus Tolson, educator and poet, died. Tolson was born February 6, 1898 in Moberly, Missouri. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Lincoln University in 1923 and his Master of Arts degree in English and comparative literature from Columbia University in 1940.

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