December 17, 1975 Noble Sissle, composer, lyricist, bandleader, and playwright, died. Sissle was born July 10, 1889 in Indianapolis, Indiana. At an early age, he started singing in the church choir and as a teenager toured the Midwest as part of a gospel quartet. In 1915, he met Eubie Blake and they formed a vaudeville […]
December 15, 1943 Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller, jazz pianist, organist and composer, died. Waller was born May 21, 1904 in New York City. He started playing the piano at the age of six. At the age of 14, he was playing the organ at Harlem’s Lincoln Theater and within 12 months had composed his first […]
March 14, 1919 Luther Henderson, arranger, composer, orchestrator, and pianist, was born in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1942, Henderson earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the Juilliard School of Music. From 1944 to 1946, he served as staff orchestrator for the United States Navy School of Music. Henderson served as orchestrator, or arranger, or […]
January 25, 1974 Nora Douglas Holt, singer, composer and music critic, died. Holt was born Lena Douglas on May 26, 1885 in Kansas City, Kansas. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in 1917 from Western University and her Master of Music degree in 1918 from Chicago Musical College, the first African American woman to […]
March 28, 1923 Thaddeus Joseph “Thad” Jones, jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader, was born in Pontiac, Michigan. Jones was a self taught musician and began playing professionally at the age of 16. He served in the United States Army band from 1943 to 1946. In 1954, Jones joined the Count Basie Orchestra where he contributed […]
March 18, 1943 Willie King, blues guitarist, composer, and singer, was born in Prairie Point, Mississippi. Prior to recording, he worked at many occupations. King later became active with the Civil Rights Movement which inspired him to write socially conscious blues songs. He described his music as struggling blues because of its focus on the […]
February 12, 1907 Roberta Martin, gospel singer, composer, and choral organizer, was born in Helena, Arkansas, but raised in Chicago, Illinois. In 1933, Martin co-founded the Martin-Frye Quartet. In 1936, the group was renamed the Roberta Martin Singers and they set the standard for gospel choirs, recording such hits as “Only A Look” (1949) and […]
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Previous Days in African American History
Other African American History Posts
- September 3rd in African American History – Jonathan David Samuel “Jo” Jones
- October 14th in African American History – Charles B. Joiner, Jr.
- April 15th in African American History – Benjamin Lawson Hooks
- December 18th in African American History – Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr.
- March 10th in African American History – Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin