February 15, 1965 Nat King Cole, jazz pianist and singer, died. Cole was born Nathaniel Adam Coles on March 17, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama. He began performing in the 1930s with the King Cole Trio and in 1943 they signed with Capitol Records.
February 6, 1945 Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley, singer and songwriter, was born in Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica. In 1963, Marley formed a group that eventually came to be called The Wailers. Their first album, “Catch a Fire,” was released in 1973 and it was followed a year later by “Burnin” which included the hit songs […]
January 22, 1931 Samuel Cooke, singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur, was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Cooke began his career singing gospel. In 1950, he became the lead singer for The Soul Stirrers who recorded several hits, including “Peace in the Valley” (1951) and “One More River” (1955). In 1957, Cooke left The Soul Stirrers and recorded […]
January 5, 1979 Charles Mingus, Jr., jazz bassist, composer and bandleader, died. Mingus was born April 22, 1922 in Nogales, Arizona. He began writing advanced jazz pieces as a teenager. Mingus toured with Louis Armstrong in 1943 and in 1945 began recording. In 1952, Mingus co-founded Debut Records in order to conduct his recording career […]
December 26, 1999 Curtis Lee Mayfield, singer, songwriter and record producer, died. Mayfield was born June 3, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. In 1954, Mayfield dropped out of school and joined The Roosters who two years later became The Impressions. When Jerry Butler left the group, Mayfield became the lead singer. The Impressions were successful with […]
December 10, 1967 Otis Ray Redding, Jr., singer and songwriter, died in a plane crash. Redding was born September 9, 1941 in Dawson, Georgia. He grew up in Macon, Georgia where he sang in the church choir and won the local talent show 15 weeks in a row. In 1960, Redding began touring the south […]
December 1, 1940 Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor, III, comedian, writer and actor, was born in Peoria, Illinois. After his discharge from the Army in 1960, Pryor began working as a professional comic in clubs throughout the Midwest. In 1963, he moved to New York City and began to gain national recognition and appear on […]
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Previous Days in African American History
Other African American History Posts
- Kid Gavilan – February 13th in African American History
- March 8th in African American History – James Edward Rice
- August 19th in African American History – Martha Rae Watson
- January 28th in African American History – “We Are the World”
- February 19th in African American History – William “Smokey” Robinson, Jr.