Tag: Billy Strayhorn

ellingtonphoto.jpg

Entertainment

Duke Ellington: the man and his music

DUKE ELLINGTON (Courier File Photo) by Jerry HarkavyAssociated Press Writer “Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington” (Gotham Books), by Terry Teachout Duke Ellington died nearly 40 years ago, but for jazz fans of a certain age his musical creativity and elegant style remain timeless. Whether he was leading his orchestra in “Take the A Train,” the composition by collaborator Billy Strayhorn that became Ellington’s theme, or assuring his fans in his velvety bass-baritone that he loved them madly, the Duke’s public persona as a jazz giant has endured for half a century.

PhyllisHymanw.jpg

National

This Week In Black History

1995—Song-stylist and singer Phyllis Hyman commits suicide in New York City shortly before she was scheduled to perform at a concert. For the week of June 26-July 2 June 261899—Black inventor William H. Richardson redesigns the baby carriage. While the idea for the baby carriage is nearly 300 years old, Richardson’s patent, filed at the Boston patent office, included several new features including a special joint which allowed the bassinet to be turned to face the mother or whoever was pushing the carriage. Many of Richardson’s designs are still in use today. [There is some authority that Richardson’s patent was actually filed on June 18.] 1942—Harvard medical student, Bernard W. Robinson, becomes the first African-American to win a commission to the United States Navy. June 27 1872—Paul Lawrence Dunbar, one of the most popular poets in Black American history, is born in Dayton, Ohio. Dunbar first gained national recognition with a collection of works published in 1896 entitled “Lyrics of a Lowly Life,” which included “Ode to Ethiopia.” Despite the power of his poetry, Dunbar angered some Blacks who were concerned about “what will White people think” because he generally used Black dialect and not Standard English in much of his poetry. Dunbar’s first poem was published in a newspaper owned by high school friends and American airplane pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright. The Wright brothers would also provide Dunbar with funds to open the Dayton Tattler—a newspaper geared toward the city’s Black community. Unfortunately, Dunbar died at the age of 34 in 1906 of Tuberculosis.