Tag Archives | National Medal of Arts
Harold George “Harry” Belafonte, Jr.

March 1st in African American History – Harold George “Harry” Belafonte, Jr.

March 1, 1927 Harold George “Harry” Belafonte, Jr., musician, actor and social activist, was born in New York City. Belafonte served in the United States Navy during World War II and after his discharge began his music career singing in clubs to pay for acting classes.

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Pearl Primus

October 29th in African American History – Pearl Primus

October 29, 1994 Pearl Primus, dancer, choreographer, and anthropologist, died. Primus was born November 29, 1919 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Early in her career, Primus saw the need to promote African dance as an art form worthy of study and performance. In 1943, she presented her first composition, “African Ceremonial.”

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Roy Rudolph DeCarava

October 27th in African American History – Roy Rudolph DeCarava

October 27, 2009 Roy Rudolph DeCarava, photographer, died. DeCarava was born December 9, 1919 in Harlem, New York. He determined early that he wanted to be an artist and initially worked as a painter and commercial illustrator. Eventually he was drawn to photography and in 1955 opened A Photographer’s Gallery, pioneering an effort to win […]

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Wynton Learson Marsalis

October 18th in African American History – Wynton Learson Marsalis

October 18, 1961 Wynton Learson Marsalis, jazz and classical music trumpeter and composer, was born in New Orleans, Lousiana. At the age of 8, Marsalis was performing traditional New Orleans music in the church band and at 14 he was invited to perform with the New Orleans Philharmonic. While in high school, he was also […]

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Ray Charles Robinson

September 23rd in African American History – Ray Charles Robinson

September 23, 1930 Ray Charles Robinson (Ray Charles), R&B, gospel and blues vocalist and pianist, was born in Albany, Georgia. At the age of 5, Charles began to lose his sight and was completely blind by the age of 7. In 1943, he began to play gigs around Tallahassee and Jacksonville, Florida. In 1947, he […]

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Jessye Mae Norman

September 15th in African American History – Jessye Mae Norman

September 15, 1945 Jessye Mae Norman, opera singer, was born in Augusta, Georgia. At the age of nine, Norman heard opera for the first time and was immediately an opera fan. She credits Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price as inspiring figures in her career. In 1966, Norman won the National Society of Arts and Letters […]

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Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence – September 7th in African American History

September 7, 1919 Jacob Lawrence, painter and educator, was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Lawrence attended classes at the Harlem Art Workshop and earned a scholarship to the American Artist School. In 1943, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard and served with the first racially integrated crew. Throughout his artistic career, Lawrence […]

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