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Encyclopedia > W. C. Handy
W.C. Handy
In July 1941, by Carl Van Vechten
In July 1941, by Carl Van Vechten
Background information
Birth name William Christopher Handy
Also known as The Father of Blues
Born November 16, 1873(1873-11-16)
Florence, Alabama, U.S.
Origin Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Died March 28, 1958 (aged 84)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Genre(s) Blues, Jazz
Occupation(s) Composer, songwriter, musician, bandleader, author
Instrument(s) Piano, cornet, trumpet, vocals
Years active 1893 – 1948

William Christopher Handy (November 16, 1873March 28, 1958) was a blues composer and musician, often known as the "Father of the Blues". W.C. Handy photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1941 July 17. ... Carl Van Vechten (June 17, 1880 – December 21, 1964) was an American writer and photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the literary executor of Gertrude Stein. ... is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1873 (MDCCCLXXIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Florence Florence city is the seat of Lauderdale County, which is situated in the northwest corner of the U.S. state of Alabama. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... For other uses, see Memphis (disambiguation). ... This article is about the U.S. state of Tennessee. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... is the 87th day of the year (88th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Jan. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... This article is about the state. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Blues music redirects here. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... A songwriter is someone who writes the lyrics to songs, the musical composition or melody to songs, or both. ... For the popular-music magazine, see Musician (magazine). ... A bandleader is the director of a band of musicians. ... For other uses, see Author (disambiguation). ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified for the purpose of making music. ... Pianoforte redirects here. ... B♭ cornet The cornet is a brass instrument very similar to the trumpet, distinguished by its conical bore, compact shape, and mellower tone quality. ... Trumpeter redirects here. ... For other uses, see Singer (disambiguation). ... is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1873 (MDCCCLXXIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... is the 87th day of the year (88th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Jan. ... Blues music redirects here. ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... For the popular-music magazine, see Musician (magazine). ...


Handy remains among the most influential of American songwriters. Though he was one of many musicians who played the style of music that is distinctively American, he is credited with giving it its contemporary form not only because he was able to notate his music for publication and hence, posterity, but because of syncopated rhythms, a style unique to his music. A songwriter is someone who writes either the lyrics or the music for songs. ... For other uses of the same name, see Syncopation (disambiguation). ...


While Handy was not the first to publish music in the blues form, he took the blues from a not very well-known regional music style from the Mississippi Delta to one of the dominant forces in American music. For the racehorse, see Delta Blues (horse). ... This article is about the geographic region of the U.S. state of Mississippi. ...


Handy was an educated musician who used folk material in his compositions. He was scrupulous in documenting the sources of his works, which frequently combined stylistic influences from several performers. He loved this folk musical form and brought his own transforming touch to it. Folk song redirects here. ...

Contents

Early life

W.C. Handy at age 19
W.C. Handy at age 19

Handy was born in Florence, Alabama to Charles Bernard Handy and Elizabeth Brewer. His father was the pastor of a small church in Guntersville, another small town in northeast central Alabama. Handy wrote in his 1941 autobiography Father of the Blues, that he was born in the log cabin built by his grandfather William Wise Handy, who became an African Methodist Episcopal minister after emancipation. The log cabin of Handy's birth has been saved and preserved in downtown Florence. Image File history File links W.C. Handy, age 19 - photo courtesy of University of North Alabama, Collier Library, W.C. Handy Archives Collection <http://www2. ... Image File history File links W.C. Handy, age 19 - photo courtesy of University of North Alabama, Collier Library, W.C. Handy Archives Collection <http://www2. ... Florence Florence city is the seat of Lauderdale County, which is situated in the northwest corner of the U.S. state of Alabama. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      A pastor is an... Guntersville is a city in Marshall County, Alabama, United States and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Cover of the first English edition of 1793 of Benjamin Franklins autobiography. ... For other uses, see Log cabin (disambiguation). ... The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the AME Church, is a Christian denomination founded by Bishop Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816. ... For other types of minister, see Minister In Christian churches, a minister is a man or woman who serves a congregation or participates in a role in a parachurch ministry; such persons can minister as a Pastor, Preacher, Bishop, Chaplain, Deacon or Elder. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Emancipation Proclamation Reproduction of the Emancipation Proclamation at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. ...


Handy was a deeply religious man, whose influences in his musical style were found in the church music he sang and played as a youth, and in the sounds of nature in Florence. Florence Florence city is the seat of Lauderdale County, which is situated in the northwest corner of the U.S. state of Alabama. ...


He cited the sounds of nature, such as "whippoorwills, bats and hoot owls and their outlandish noises," the sounds of Cypress Creek washing on the fringes of the woodland, and "the music of every songbird and all the symphonies of their unpremeditated art" as inspiration. Binomial name Caprimulgus vociferus Wilson,, 1812 The Whip-poor-will, Caprimulgus vociferus, is a medium-sized (22-27 cm) nightjar. ...


Growing up he apprenticed in carpentry, shoemaking and plastering, and bought his first guitar that he had seen in a local shop window and had secretly saved for by picking berries, nuts and making lye soap, without his parents' permission. His father, dismayed at his actions, asked him, "What possessed you to bring a sinful thing like that into our Christian home?" He then ordered him to "Take it back where it came from," and enrolled him in organ lessons. His days as an organ student were short lived, and he moved on to learn the cornet. A carpenter is a skilled craftsman who performs carpentry -- a wide range of woodworking that includes constructing buildings, furniture, and other large objects out of wood. ... Shoemaker redirects here. ... This article is about the building material. ... For other uses, see Guitar (disambiguation). ... Old Pipe organ in Église Saint-Thomas, Strasbourg, France. ... B♭ cornet The cornet is a brass instrument very similar to the trumpet, distinguished by its conical bore, compact shape, and mellower tone quality. ...


Musical and social development

Handy joined a local band as a teenager, but he kept this fact a secret from his parents. He purchased a cornet from a fellow bandmember and spent every free minute practising it. An exceptional student in school, he placed near the top of his class. In September of 1892, Handy traveled to Birmingham, Alabama to take a teaching exam, which he passed easily. He obtained a teaching job in Birmingham but soon learned that the teaching profession paid poorly. He quit the position and found work at a pipe works plant in nearby Bessemer. Nickname: Location in Jefferson County in the state of Alabama Coordinates: , Country State Counties Jefferson, Shelby Incorporated December 19, 1871 Government  - Type Mayor - Council  - Mayor Bernard Kincaid (Current) Larry Langford (Mayor-Elect) Area  - City 151. ... Bessemer is the name, or part of the name, of several places in the United States: Bessemer, Alabama Bessemer, Michigan Bessemer Township, Michigan Bessemer City, North Carolina Bessemer, Pennsylvania Bessemer Bend, Wyoming Other things or people named Bessemer include: Bessemer process, a method of making steel Henry Bessemer, the inventor...


During his off-time, he organized a small string orchestra and taught musicians how to read notes. He formed a quartet called the "Lauzetta Quartet." When the group read about the upcoming World's Fair in Chicago, they decided to attend. The trip to Chicago was long and arduous. To pay their way, group members performed at odd jobs along the way. They finally arrived in Chicago only to learn that the World's Fair had been postponed for a year. The group then headed to St. Louis but working conditions there proved to be very bad. The Lauzetta Quartet disbanded and Handy subsequently left St. Louis for Evansville, Indiana. For other uses, see Chicago (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Chicago (disambiguation). ... St. ... Nickname: Location in the state of Indiana Coordinates: , Country State County Vanderburgh Townships Center, German, Knight, Perry, Pigeon Government  - Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel (D) Area  - City 40. ...


In Evansville, Handy's luck changed dramatically. He joined a successful band which performed throughout the neighboring cities and states. While performing at a barbecue in Henderson, Kentucky, he met Elizabeth Price, and they married shortly afterwards (on July 19, 1896). Henderson is a city located in Henderson County, along the Ohio River in Western Kentucky. ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Area  Ranked 37th  - Total 40,444 sq mi (104,749 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 1. ... is the 200th day of the year (201st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1896 (MDCCCXCVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display calendar). ...


His musical endeavors were varied, and he sang first tenor in a minstrel show, moved from Alabama and worked as a band director, choral director, cornetist and trumpeter. At age 23, he was band master of Mahara's Colored Minstrels. This article is about Tenor vocalists in music. ... For the 18th century American form of music and performance known as minstrelsy, see minstrel show. ... In music, a band is a company of musicians, or musical ensemble, usually popular or folk, playing parts of or improvising a musical arrangement on different musical instruments. ... A conductor conducting at a ceremony A conductors score and batons Conducting is the act of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. ... Trumpeter redirects here. ...

W.C. Handy, ca. 1900, Director of the Alabama Agriculture & Mechanical College Band
W.C. Handy, ca. 1900, Director of the Alabama Agriculture & Mechanical College Band

As a young man, he played cornet in the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, and in 1902 he travelled throughout Mississippi listening to various musical styles played by ordinary Negroes. The instruments most often used in many of those songs were the guitar, banjo and to a much lesser extent, the piano. His remarkable memory served him well, and he was able to recall and transcribe the music he heard in his travels. In particular, he noted in his autobiography a blues-like guitarist he heard in Tutwiler, Mississippi. Image File history File links W.C. Handy and the band of the Teachers Agricultural and Mechanical College, Normal, Alabama, 1900 - Handy, wearing a moustache, (L) is standing in front, holding his cornet and conductors baton. ... Image File history File links W.C. Handy and the band of the Teachers Agricultural and Mechanical College, Normal, Alabama, 1900 - Handy, wearing a moustache, (L) is standing in front, holding his cornet and conductors baton. ... Bâ™­ cornet The cornet is a brass instrument very similar to the trumpet, distinguished by its conical bore, compact shape, and mellower tone quality. ... One-third scale replica of Daniel Chester Frenchs Republic, which stood in the great basin at the exposition, Chicago, 2004 The Worlds Columbian Exposition (also called The Chicago Worlds Fair), a Worlds Fair, was held in Chicago in 1893, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher... Year 1893 (MDCCCXCIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Year 1902 (MCMII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday [1] of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Negro means the color black in both Spanish and Portuguese languages, being derived from the Latin word niger of the same meaning. ... For other uses, see Guitar (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Banjo (disambiguation) The banjo is a stringed instrument developed by enslaved Africans in the United States, adapted from several African instruments. ... Pianoforte redirects here. ... Little is known about the exact origins of the music we now know as the blues. ... Tutwiler is a town located in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. ...


Shortly after his marriage to Elizabeth Price in 1896, he was invited to join a minstrel group called "Mahara's Minstrels." In their three year tour, they travelled to Chicago, throughout Texas and Oklahoma, through Tennessee, Georgia and Florida on to Cuba, and Handy was paid a salary of $6 per week. Upon their return from their Cuban engagements, they travelled north through Alabama, and stopped to perform in Huntsville, Alabama. Growing weary from life on the road, it was there he and his wife decided to stay with relatives in his nearby hometown of Florence. Year 1896 (MDCCCXCVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display calendar). ... For other uses, see Chicago (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Texas (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Oklahoma (disambiguation). ... This article is about the U.S. state of Tennessee. ... This article is about the U.S. State of Florida. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Huntsville, Alabama (top center), near the Tennessee border, is north of Birmingham and northeast of Decatur, across the Tennessee River flowing northwest. ...


On June 29, 1900 in Florence, Elizabeth gave birth to the first (a daughter, Lucille) of their six children. Around that time, William Hooper Councill, President of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes ( which is today named Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University) in Normal, Alabama (a small community just outside Huntsville) approached Handy about teaching music. At the time, AAMC and Tuskegee Institute were the only colleges for Negroes in Alabama. Handy accepted Councill's offer and became a faculty member that September. He taught music there from 1900 to 1902. is the 180th day of the year (181st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Äž: For the film, see: 1900 (film). ... William Hooper Councill (1848-1909), was a former slave and the first president of Huntsville Normal School, which is today Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in Huntsville, Alabama. ... Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, also known as Alabama A&M University or AAMU, is an accredited public, coeducational land grant college located in Normal, Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama. ... Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, also known as Alabama A&M University or AAMU, is an accredited public, coeducational land grant college located in Normal, Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama. ... Normal, Alabama is the site of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. ... In education, teachers are those who teach students or pupils, often a course of study or a practical skill. ... Äž: For the film, see: 1900 (film). ... Year 1902 (MCMII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday [1] of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...


An important factor in his musical development and in music history, was his enthusiasm for the distinctive style of uniquely American music which was often considered inferior to European classical music. He was soon disheartened to discover that American music was often cast aside by the college and instead emphasized foreign music considered to be "classical". Handy felt he was underpaid and felt he could make more money touring with a minstrel group and after a dispute with AAMC President Councill, he resigned his teaching position to rejoin the Mahara Minstrels to tour the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. In 1903 he was offered the opportunity to direct a black band named the Knights of Pythias, located in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Handy accepted and remained there six years. A History of Western Music Seventh Edition by J. Peter Burkholder, Donald J. Grout, and Claude V. Palisca is one of several popular books used to teach Music History in North America. ... Classical music is a broad, somewhat imprecise term, referring to music produced in, or rooted in the traditions of, European art, ecclesiastical and concert music, encompassing a broad period from roughly 1000 to the present day. ... The Midwest is a common name for a region of the United States of America. ... The Pacific Northwest from space The Pacific Northwest, abbreviated PNW, or PacNW is a region in the northwest of North America. ... Year 1903 (MCMIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... Clarksdale is a city in Coahoma County, Mississippi, United States. ...


In 1903 while waiting for a train in Tutwiler, in the Mississippi Delta, Handy had the following experience. "A lean loose-jointed Negro had commenced plunking a guitar beside me while I slept... As he played, he pressed a knife on the strings of the guitar in a manner popularized by Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars....The singer repeated the line three times, accompanying himself on the guitar with the weirdest music I had ever heard."[1][2]


Partway through the evening, while playing a dance in Cleveland, Mississippi (circa 1905 [1]) Handy was given a note that asked for “our native music”. After playing an old time Southern melody, Handy was asked if he would object if a local colored band played a few numbers. Three young men with a battered guitar, mandolin, and a worn out bass took the stage. “They struck up one of those over and over strains that seem to have no beginning and certainly no ending at all. The strumming attained a disturbing monotony, but on and on it went, a kind of stuff associated with cane rows and levee camps. Thump-thump-thump went their feet on the floor. It was not really annoying or unpleasant. Perhaps “haunting” is the better word.” [3]


Handy also noted square dancing by Negroes in Mississippi with "one of their own calling the figures", and crooning all of his calls in the key of G."[4] He would later recall this experience when deciding on the key for St Louis Blues. "It was the memory of that old gent who called figures for the Kentucky breakdown-the one who everlastingly pitched his tones in the key of G and moaned the calls like a presiding elder preaching at a revival meeting. Ah, there was my key-I'd do the song in G."[5]


In describing "blind singers and footloose bards" around Clarksdale Handy wrote, "surrounded by crowds of country folks, they would pour their hearts out in song"... They earned their living by selling their own songs - "ballets," as they called them-and I'm ready to say in their behalf that seldom did their creations lack imagination."[6]


Transition: popularity, fame and business

In 1909 he and his band moved to Memphis, Tennessee and established their presence on Beale Street. The genesis of his "Memphis Blues" was as a campaign tune originally entitled as "Mr. Crump" which he had written for Edward Crump, a successful Memphis, Tennessee mayoral candidate in 1909 (and future "boss"). He later rewrote the tune and changed the name to "Memphis Blues." Year 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... For other uses, see Memphis (disambiguation). ... Beale Street is a street in Memphis, Tennessee and a significant location in African-American history and the history of the blues. ... Edward Hull Crump (October 2, 1874–October 16, 1954) was a Memphis, Tennessee insurance broker, businessman, and political figure in the early 20th century. ... For other uses, see Memphis (disambiguation). ... A mayor (from the Latin māior, meaning larger, greater) is the modern title of the highest ranking municipal officer. ... Year 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... This article is about the system of organization called a political machine. ...


The 1912 publication of his "Memphis Blues" sheet music introduced his style of 12-bar blues to many households and was credited as the inspiration for the invention of the foxtrot dance step by Vernon and Irene Castle, a New York–based dance team. Some consider it to be the first blues song. He sold the rights to the song for US$100, and by 1914, when Handy was aged 40, his musical style was asserted, his popularity increased significantly, and he composed prolifically. Year 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... This article is about the dance. ... Vernon and Irene Castle in 1914 Vernon and Irene Castle were a husband-and-wife team of ballroom dancers of the early 20th century. ... This article is about the state. ... Year 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...

W. C. Handy with his 1918 Memphis Orchestra: Handy is center rear, wearing moustache, holding trumpet.
W. C. Handy with his 1918 Memphis Orchestra: Handy is center rear, wearing moustache, holding trumpet.

Handy wrote the following regarding his use of what he heard in folk song. "The primitive southern Negro, as he sang, was sure to bear down on the third and seventh tone of the scale, slurring between major and minor. Whether in the cotton field of the Delta or on the Levee up St. Louis way, it was always the same. Till then, however, I had never heard this slur used by a more sophisticated Negro, or by any white man. I tried to convey this effect...by introducing flat thirds and sevenths (now called blue notes) into my song, although it's prevailing key was major..., and I carried this device into my melody as well... This was a distinct departure, but as it turned out, it touched the spot." Image File history File links W.C. Handy is pictured with his Memphis Orchestra ca. ... Image File history File links W.C. Handy is pictured with his Memphis Orchestra ca. ...


"The three-line structure I employed in my lyric was suggested by a song I heard Phil Jones sing in Evansville...While I took the three-line stanza as a model for my lyric, I found its repetition too monotonous...Consequently I adopted the style of making a statement, repeating the statement in the second line, and then telling in the third line why the statement was made.".[7]<


Handy detailed the sources for his creations in his autobiography, as detailed above. Still, it is now impossible to tell just how much Handy himself wrote, and how much originated with the itinerant singers that he heard.[2]


Because of the difficulty of getting his works published, he published many of his own works, and in 1917, he and his business moved to New York City. By the end of that year, his most successful songs, "Memphis Blues", "Beale Street Blues", and "St. Louis Blues," had been published. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, a white New Orleans jazz ensemble, had recorded the very first jazz record that year, introducing jazz music to a wide segment of the American public. Handy initially had little fondness for this new "jazz" music, but jazz bands dove into the repertoire of W. C. Handy compositions with enthusiasm, making many of them jazz standards. 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar (see: 1917 Julian calendar). ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... St. ... Shown are (left to right) Tony Sbarbaro (aka Tony Spargo) on drums; Edwin Daddy Edwards on trombone; D. James Nick LaRocca on cornet; Larry Shields on clarinet, and Henry Ragas on piano. ... New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... Jazz standard refers to a tune that is widely known, performed, and recorded among jazz musicians. ...


Handy's foray into publishing was noteworthy for several reasons. Not only were his works groundbreaking because of his ethnicity, but he was among the first blacks who were successful because of it. The rejection of his manuscripts for publication led him to self-publish his works. In 1912, Handy met Harry H. Pace at the Solvent Savings Bank in Memphis. Pace was valedictorian of his graduating class at Atlanta University and student of W. E. B. DuBois. By the time of their meeting, Pace had already demonstrated a strong understanding of business and earned his business reputation by rebuilding failing businesses. Handy liked him, and he later became manager of Pace and Handy Sheet Music. For other uses, see Publishing (disambiguation). ... The term Ethnicity redirects here. ... Year 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Harry Herbert Pace (January 6, 1884, in Covington, Georgia to 1943, in Chicago, Illinois) was an African-American music publisher and insurance executive, and the founder of Black Swan Records. ... In the United States and Canada, the title of valedictorian (an anglicized derivation from the Latin vale dicere, to say farewell) is given to the top graduate of the graduating class (the Australia/New Zealand equivalent being dux, although some Australian universities use the American term) of an educational institution. ... Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is a private institution of higher education in Atlanta, Georgia. ... W. E. B. DuBois William Edward Burghardt DuBois (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an African-American civil rights activist, sociologist, freemason, and scholar. ... In economics, a business (also called firm or enterprise) is a legally recognized organizational entity designed to provide goods and/or services to consumers or corporate entities such as governments, charities or other businesses. ...

W.C. Handy Place in Yonkers, NY
W.C. Handy Place in Yonkers, NY

In 1920, frustrated at white publishing companies that would buy their music and lyrics and record them using white artists, Pace amicably dissolved his long-standing partnership with Handy, with whom he also collaborated as lyricist, and resolved to start his own record firm, which he later named Black Swan Records. For years, scholars thought Handy was a founder of Black Swan Records. However, Handy wrote: "To add to my woes, my partner withdrew from the business. He disagreed with some of my business methods, but no harsh words were involved. He simply chose this time to sever connection with our firm in order that he might organize Pace Phonograph Company, issuing Black Swan Records and making a serious bid for the Negro market. . . . With Pace went a large number of our employees. . . . Still more confusion and anguish grew out of the fact that people did not generally know that I had no stake in the Black Swan Record Company." Yonkers, just north of New York City in Westchester County, is the fourth largest city in the U.S. state of New York, with a population of 196,086 (according to the 2000 census). ... State nickname: Empire State Other U.S. States Capital Albany Largest city New York Governor George Pataki Official languages None Area 141,205 km² (27th)  - Land 122,409 km²  - Water 18,795 km² (13. ... Year 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display 1920) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Black Swan Records was a United States record label in the 1920s; it was the first to be owned and operated by, and marketed to, African Americans. ...


Although Handy's partnership with Pace was dissolved, he continued to operate the publishing company as a family-owned business, and published works of other black composers as well as his own, which included more than 150 sacred compositions and folk song arrangements and about sixty blues compositions. A partnership is a type of business entity in which partners (owners) share with each other the profits or losses of the business undertaking in which all have invested. ... SACRED SACRED was a Cubesat built by the Student Satellite Program of the University of Arizona. ... Folk song redirects here. ...


In the 1920s, he founded the Handy Record Company in New York City. The 1920s is sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually when speaking about the United States. ...


Bessie Smith's January 14, 1925, Columbia Records recording of "St. Louis Blues" with Louis Armstrong is considered by many to be one of the finest recordings of the 1920s. This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... is the 14th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Columbia Records is the oldest brand name in recorded sound, dating back to 1888, and was the first record company to produce pre-recorded records as opposed to blank cylinders. ... St. ... Louis[1] Armstrong[2] (4 August 1901[3] – July 6, 1971), nicknamed Satchmo[4] and Pops, was an American jazz musician. ... Year 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display 1920) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

W.C. Handy celebrating his 65th birthday at the Cotton Club.
W.C. Handy celebrating his 65th birthday at the Cotton Club.

In 1926 he authored and edited a work entitled Blues: An Anthology—Complete Words and Music of 53 Great Songs, which is probably the first work of its type which attempted to record, analyze and describe the blues as an integral part of the U.S. South and the history of the United States. Image File history File links Handys 65th birthday celebration at the Cotton Club - Photographer unknown; photo courtesy of University of North Alabama, Collier Library, W.C. Handy Archives Collection; <http://www2. ... Image File history File links Handys 65th birthday celebration at the Cotton Club - Photographer unknown; photo courtesy of University of North Alabama, Collier Library, W.C. Handy Archives Collection; <http://www2. ... Year 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The U.S. Southern states or The South, known during the American Civil War era as Dixie, is a distinctive region of the United States with its own unique historical perspective, customs, musical styles, and cuisine. ... American history redirects here. ...


So successful was Handy's "St. Louis Blues" that in 1929, he and director Kenneth W. Adams collaborated on a RCA motion picture project of the same name, which was to be shown before the main attraction. Handy suggested blues singer Bessie Smith be placed in the starring role, since she had gained widespread popularity with that tune. The picture was shot in June and was shown in movie houses throughout the United States from 1929 to 1932. Year 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Director Herbert Brenon with actress Alla Nazimova on the set of War Brides, 1916 A director is a person who directs the making of a film. ... This article is about the former RCA Corporation. ... For other uses see film (disambiguation) Film refers to the celluliod media on which movies are printed Film — also called movies, the cinema, the silver screen, moving pictures, photoplays, picture shows, flicks, or motion pictures, — is a field that encompasses motion pictures as an art form or as part of... Year 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1932 (MCMXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1932 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The genre of the blues was a hallmark of American society and culture in the 1920s and 1930s. So great was its influence, and so much was it recognized as Handy's hallmark, that author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in his novel The Great Gatsby that "All night the saxophones wailed the hopeless comment of the "Beale Street Blues" while a hundred pairs of golden and silver slippers shuffled the shining dust. At the gray tea hour there were always rooms that throbbed incessantly with this low, sweet fever, while fresh faces drifted here and there like rose petals blown by the sad horns around the floor." For the gay mens lifestyle magazine, see Genre (magazine). ... Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American Jazz Age author of novels and short stories. ... This article is about the novel. ...


Later life

W.C. Handy at Harlem Hospital with hundreds of get-well cards & telegrams.
W.C. Handy at Harlem Hospital with hundreds of get-well cards & telegrams.

Following publication of his autobiography, Handy published a subsequent book on African American musicians entitled Unsung Americans Sung, which was published in 1944. He wrote a total of five books: Image File history File links At Harlem Hospital, Handy is photographed with hundreds of cards and telegrams. ... Image File history File links At Harlem Hospital, Handy is photographed with hundreds of cards and telegrams. ... Cover of the first English edition of 1793 of Benjamin Franklins autobiography. ... An African American (also Afro-American, Black American, or simply black) is a member of an ethnic group in the United States whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Africa. ...

  1. Blues: An Anthology: Complete Words and Music of 53 Great Songs
  2. Book of Negro Spirituals
  3. Father of the Blues: An Autobiography
  4. Unsung Americans Sing
  5. Negro Authors and Composers of the United States

In this time period, he lived on Strivers' Row in Harlem. An accidental fall from a subway platform in 1943 resulted in his blindness. Following the death of his first wife, he remarried in 1954 at age 80 to his secretary Irma Louise Logan, who he frequently said had become his eyes. Entrance to Strivers Row alleyway, Walk Your Horses! The term Strivers Row refers to three rows of townhouses in western Harlem, in the New York City borough of Manhattan. ... For other uses, see Harlem (disambiguation). ... “Mass Transit” redirects here. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the visual condition. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1954 Gregorian calendar). ... For other uses, see Secretary (disambiguation). ...


In 1955 he suffered a stroke and became confined to a wheelchair. Over 800 people attended his 84th birthday party at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ... For other uses, see Stroke (disambiguation). ... Wheelchair seating in a theater. ... The hotels name with a single hyphen is engraved and gilded over the entrance. ...


On March 28, 1958, W. C. Handy succumbed to acute bronchial pneumonia and died. Over 25,000 people attended his funeral in Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church. Over 150,000 people gathered in the streets near the church to pay their respects. is the 87th day of the year (88th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Jan. ... This article is about human pneumonia. ... The Abyssinian Baptist Church is among the most famous of the many churches in Harlem, New York City. ...


He is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York. Located in The Bronx, Woodlawn Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in New York City. ... The Bronx is one of the five boroughs of United States. ...


Compositions

Handy's songs do not always follow the classic 12-bar pattern, often having 8- or 16-bar bridges between 12-bar verses. The 12-bar blues has a distinctive form in both lyrics and chord structure. ... An eight bar blues is a typical blues chord progression, taking eight 4/4 bars to the verse. ...

  • "Memphis Blues", written 1909, published 1912. Although usually subtitled "Boss Crump", it is a distinct song from Handy's campaign satire, "Boss Crump don't 'low no easy riders around here", which was based on the good-time song "Mamma Don't Allow It."
  • "Saint Louis Blues" (1912), "the jazzman's Hamlet."
  • "Yellow Dog Blues" (1912), "Your easy rider's gone where the Southern cross the Yellow Dog." The reference is to the Southern Railway and the local Yazoo Delta Railroad, called the Yellow Dog.
  • "Loveless Love", based in part on the classic, "Careless Love". Possibly the first song to complain of modern synthetics, "with milkless milk and silkless silk, we're growing used to soulless soul."
  • "Aunt Hagar's Blues", the biblical Hagar, handmaiden to Abraham and Sarah, was considered the "mother" of the African Americans.
  • "Beale Street Blues" (1916), written as a farewell to the old Beale Street of Memphis (actually called Beale Avenue until the song changed the name); but Beale Street did not go away and is considered the "home of the blues" to this day. B.B. King was known as the "Beale Street Blues Boy" and Elvis Presley watched and learned from Ike Turner there.
  • "Long Gone John (From Bowling Green)", tribute to a famous bank robber.
  • "Chantez-Les-Bas (Sing 'Em Low)", tribute to the Creole culture of New Orleans.
  • "Atlanta Blues", includes the song known as "Make Me a Pallet on your Floor" as its chorus.

Year 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Year 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... This article is about the song. ... Year 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Year 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... The Southern Railway (AAR reporting mark SOU) was the product of nearly 150 predecessor lines that were combined, reorganized and recombined beginning in the 1830s, formally becoming the Southern Railway in 1894. ... Careless love is a 2004 album by american jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux. ... Synthetic polymers are often referred to as plastics, such as the well-known polyethylene and nylon. ... Hagar can refer to: Hagar (Bible), in the Book of Genesis, the handmaiden of Sarah and wife of Abraham Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World, title name taken from the above lady Hagar (company), an Icelandic retailer company, part of the Baugur Group Hägar the Horrible, the comic... For other uses, see Abraham (name) and Abram (disambiguation). ... African Americans, also known as Afro-Americans or black Americans, are an ethnic group in the United States of America whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Sub-Saharan and West Africa. ... Beale Street Blues is a 1916 song by American composer and lyricist W.C. Handy. ... Year 1916 (MCMXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Friday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Beale Street is a street in Memphis, Tennessee and a significant location in African-American history and the history of the blues. ... For other uses, see Memphis (disambiguation). ... Riley B. King aka B. B. King (b. ... Elvis redirects here. ... Ike Turner (born Ike Wister Turner, November 5, 1931 – December 12, 2007) was an two-time Grammy Award-winning American musician, bandleader, talent scout, and record producer, best known for his work with his then wife Tina Turner as one half of the Ike & Tina Turner duo. ... This article is about an ethnic culture in Louisiana, USA. For uses of the term Creole in other countries and cultures, see Creole (disambiguation). ... New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ...

Performances, honors, recognition, miscellany

W.C. Handy, age 75, appearing in Billy Rose's "Violins Over Broadway", is introduced by Cab Calloway.
W.C. Handy, age 75, appearing in Billy Rose's "Violins Over Broadway", is introduced by Cab Calloway.
US Postage Stamp 1969
US Postage Stamp 1969

Image File history File links W.C. Handy at the age of 75 appears in Billy Roses Violins Over Broadway. ... Image File history File links W.C. Handy at the age of 75 appears in Billy Roses Violins Over Broadway. ... is the 117th day of the year (118th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1928 (MCMXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street. ... Year 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The National Folk Festival in the United States (known also as the National) was first presented in St. ... Aerial photo (looking NW) of the Washington Monument and the White House in Washington, DC. Washington, D.C., officially the District of Columbia (also known as D.C.; Washington; the Nations Capital; the District; and, historically, the Federal City) is the capital city and administrative district of the United... A 1933 Century of Progress worlds fair poster The Century of Progress International Exposition was a Worlds Fair held in Chicago, Illinois from 1933-1934 to celebrate Chicagos centennial. ... Year 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full 1934 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... There have been two Worlds fairs in New York City: 1939 New York Worlds Fair ( 1939- 1940) at Flushing Meadows in Queens gave us Futurama, the Trylon, and Perisphere. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the television network. ... Seventy-Six Trombones is the signature song from the 1957 musical play The Music Man, written by Meredith Willson. ... Robert Meredith Willson (18 May 1902 – 15 June 1984) was an American composer and playwright, best known as the writer of The Music Man. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... The Music Man is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson. ... Jan. ... A number of short and feature films have been entitled . ... Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was a popular American jazz singer-songwriter and pianist. ... Pearl Bailey in “St. ... Mahalia Jackson (October 26, 1911[1] – January 27, 1972) was an American Grammy Award-winning gospel singer, widely regarded as the best in the history of the genre and is the first Queen of Gospel Music. Mahalia Jackson became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world. ... Cab Calloway, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1933 Cab Calloway (December 25, 1907–November 18, 1994) was a famous American jazz singer and bandleader. ... Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996), also known as Lady Ella and the First Lady of Song, is considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th Century. ... Eartha Kitt (born Eartha Mae Keith on January 17, 1927),[1] is an American actress, singer, and cabaret star. ... is the 137th day of the year (138th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1969 (number) 1969 (movie) 1969 (Stargate SG-1) episode. ... USPS and Usps redirect here. ... This 1998 stamp of the Faroe Islands marks the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ... The Songwriters Hall of Fame is an arm of the National Academy of Popular Music. ... Year 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link shows full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame was established by the Nashville Songwriters Foundation, Inc. ... For the Jimi Hendrix song, see 1983. ... Joni Mitchell, CC (born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943) is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and painter. ... Year 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Marc Cohn live in Saratoga Marc Cohn (born July 5, 1959 in Cleveland, Ohio) is an American singer-songwriter, best known for his song Walking in Memphis from his eponymous 1991 album Marc Cohn. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar. ... Walking in Memphis is the signature song of American singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, from his self-titled 1991 album Marc Cohn. ... For other uses, see Lonestar (disambiguation). ... This article is about the entertainer. ... The Grammy Trustees Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording [1]. Through 1983, performers could also receive this award. ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ... The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame (AJHoF) was founded in 1978, and opened a museum on September 18, 1993, with a mission It is located in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. // This art-deco museum, housed in the historic Carver Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, honors great jazz... This article is about the year. ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ... Type Upper House President of the Senate Richard B. Cheney, R since January 20, 2001 President pro tempore Robert C. Byrd, D since January 4, 2007 Members 100 Political groups Democratic Party Republican Party Last elections November 7, 2006 Meeting place Senate Chamber United States Capitol Washington, DC United States... A resolution is a written motion adopted by a deliberative body. ... is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Awards, festivals and memorials

The Blues Music Awards are presented by the Blues Foundation, a non-profit organization set up to foster the blues and their heritage. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Florence Florence city is the seat of Lauderdale County, which is situated in the northwest corner of the U.S. state of Alabama. ... A young Jimmy Smith, on the 1958 album House Party Jimmy Smith, nicknamed The Incredible Jimmy Smith, (December 8, 1925 – February 8, 2005) was a jazz musician whose Hammond B-3 electric organ performances helped to popularize this instrument. ... Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr. ... For the Australian cricketer nicknamed Dizzy, see Jason Gillespie. ... Bobby Blue Bland (born January 27, 1930) is an American singer and was an original member of The Beale Streeters. ... Diane Schuur (born December 10, 1953 in Tacoma, Washington) is a blind jazz singer and pianist. ... For other uses, see Billy Taylor (disambiguation). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Charles L. Byrd (September 16, 1925 - November 30, 1999), better known as Charlie Byrd, was a famous jazz guitarist, born in Suffolk, Virginia. ... Ellis Marsalis (born 1934, New Orleans, LA) is an American musician. ... Take 6 is an influential American a cappella gospel music sextet formed in 1985 on the campus of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. ... Early Creole musicians playing an accordion and a washboard in front of a store, near New Iberia, Louisiana (1938). ... Henderson is a city located in Henderson County, along the Ohio River in Western Kentucky. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... 52nd Street, properly West 52nd Street, is a cross street in Manhattan in the Broadway district known as Swing Street, the street of jazz, the street that never sleeps or, simply, the street. The blocks of 52nd Street between 5th and 7th avenues were renowned in the mid 20th century...

References

  • Father of the Blues: An Autobiography. by W.C. Handy, edited by Arna Bontemps: foreword by Abbe Niles. Da Capo paperback, New York; Macmillan, (1941) ISBN 0306804212.
  1. ^ Father of the Blues by William Christopher Handy. 1941 MacMillan page 74
  2. ^ Tutwiler
  3. ^ [America's Musical Life: A History By Richard Crawford 2001 W. W. Norton & Company pages 536, 537 ISBN:0393048101]
  4. ^ Father of the Blues by William Christopher Handy. 1941 MacMillan page 85
  5. ^ Father of the Blues by William Christopher Handy. 1941 MacMillan page 119
  6. ^ Father of the Blues by William Christopher Handy. 1941 MacMillan page 87
  7. ^ Father of the Blues: An Autobiography. by W.C. Handy, edited by Arna Bontemps: foreword by Abbe Niles. Macmillan Company, New York; (1941) pages 142, 143. no ISBN in this first printing

Arna Bontemps, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1938 Arna Wendell Bontemps (October 13, 1902 - June 4, 1973) was an American poet and a noted member of the Harlem Renaissance. ... Arna Bontemps, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1938 Arna Wendell Bontemps (October 13, 1902 - June 4, 1973) was an American poet and a noted member of the Harlem Renaissance. ...

See also

A number of short and feature films have been entitled . ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Wikiquote is one of a family of wiki-based projects run by the Wikimedia Foundation, running on MediaWiki software. ...

Listen

  • Handy's Memphis Blues Band 1922 performance of "St. Louis Blues": audio on redhotjazz.com
  • Bessie Smith sings the "Saint Louis Blues", accompanied by Louis Armstrong and Fred Longshaw, 1925: audio on redhotjazz.com

Scores

The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) is a project for the creation of a virtual library of public domain music scores, based on the wiki principle. ...

Read

Brown University is a private university located in Providence, Rhode Island. ...

 
 

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