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Robert Todd Duncan

February 28th in African American History – Robert Todd Duncan

February 28, 1998 Robert Todd Duncan, baritone opera singer and actor, died. Duncan was born February 12, 1903 in Danville, Kentucky. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Butler University and a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University Teachers College. In 1933, he debuted in New York City with the Aeolian […]

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Franklin Joseph “Frankie” Lymon

February 27th in African American History – Franklin Joseph “Frankie” Lymon

February 27, 1968 Franklin Joseph “Frankie” Lymon, R&B singer and songwriter, died from a heroin overdose. Lymon was born September 30, 1942 in Harlem, New York. At the age of 12, he began singing in a group that called itself both The Ermines and The Premiers. In 1955, they wrote the song “Why Do Fools […]

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Roy David Eldridge

February 26th in African American History – Roy David Eldridge

February 26, 1989 Roy David Eldridge, jazz trumpeter, died. Eldridge was born January 30, 1911 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He originally played drums, tuba, and trumpet. Eldridge led bands from his early years, moving to St. Louis and New York, where he played in various bands in the early 1930s. From 1941 to 1943, he played […]

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Dorothy Jean Dandridge

Dorothy Jean Dandridge – September 8th in African American History

September 8, 1965 Dorothy Jean Dandridge, singer and actress, was found dead from an overdose of antidepressants. Dandridge was born November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio. As a young child, she and he sister rarely attended school and toured the South with an act called The Wonder Children. Dandridge first appeared on screen in 1935 […]

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Mathis James

Mathis James “Jimmy” Reed – September 6th in African American History

September 6, 1925 Mathis James “Jimmy” Reed, blues musician and songwriter, was born in Dunleith, Mississippi. After spending several years performing in Mississippi, Reed moved to Chicago in 1943. By the 1950s, Reed had established himself as a popular performer and from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s he had a string of hits, including […]

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Anika Noni Rose

Anika Noni Rose – September 6th in African American History

September 6, 1972 Anika Noni Rose, stage, film and television actress and singer, was born in Bloomfield, Connecticut. After graduating from Florida A&M University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre, Rose made her professional stage debut in 1998 in “Valley Song”. In 2001, she won an OBIE Award for her performance in the off-Broadway production […]

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William Everett “Billy” Preston

William Everett “Billy” Preston – September 2nd in African American History

September 2, 1946 William Everett “Billy” Preston, rhythm and blues singer and musician, was born in Houston, Texas. Preston began playing the piano at age three and by the age of ten was performing in the bands of gospel greats Mahalia Jackson, James Cleveland, and Andrae Crouch. At the age of 12, he appeared in […]

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