December 12, 1918 Joseph Goreed (Joe Williams), jazz singer, was born in Cordele, Georgia, but raised in Chicago, Illinois. By his early teens, Williams had taught himself to play the piano and formed his own gospel group. By 1939, he had started to tour with established bands and got his big break in 1954 when […]
December 11, 1926 Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, singer and songwriter, was born in Ariton, Alabama. Thornton began to sing at a very early age and at 14 she joined the Hot Harlem Revue and toured with them for seven years. Thornton began her recording career in 1951 and the next year recorded “Hound Dog.”
December 15, 2001 Rufus Thomas Jr., R&B, funk, and soul singer, died. Thomas was born March 27, 1917 in Cayce, Mississippi, but grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. By the age of ten he was performing in amateur productions. For 22 years until 1963, Thomas worked in a textile plant while pursuing a career as a […]
July 25, 1984 Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, R&B singer and songwriter, died. Thornton was born December 11, 1926 in Ariton, Alabama and began to sing at an early age. At the age of 14, she joined the Hot Harlem Revue and performed with them for 7 years. Thornton began her recording career in 1951 […]
March 6, 1936 Sylvia Vanderpool Robinson, singer, record producer, and record company executive and the mother of hip-hop, was born in New York City. Robinson began recording in 1950 under the name of Little Sylvia.
February 26, 1928 Antoine Dominique “Fats” Domino, pianist, singer, and songwriter, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Domino first attracted national attention with the 1949 release of “Fat Man” which is widely regarded to be the first rock and roll record to sell more than a million copies.
January 30, 1928 Ruth Alston Weston (Ruth Brown), R&B singer and actress, was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. Brown recorded her first hit, “So Long,” in 1949 and from that time to 1955 was on the R&B charts for 149 weeks with 16 top 10 blues records, including five number ones. Those hits were “Teardrops From […]
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- August 11th in African American History – Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic
- John Melville Burgess – March 11th in African American History
- Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. (Muhammad Ali) – January 17th in African American History
- August 17th in African American History – Pearl Mae Bailey
- September 21st in African American History – Kwame Nkrumah