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Wallace McClain Cheatham

opera singer, college and music conservatory professor, composer, activist, and genealogist, the youngest of seven children, was born in Columbia, Tennessee, and reared in Louisville, Kentucky, where his family moved in search of suitable employment and better schools. Andrew's mother, Lue Vergia Esters Frierson, was a homemaker. His father, Robert Clinton Frierson, was a laborer.

At age three Frierson first dramatically showcased his musical talent. One afternoon he accompanied his mother to the home of an old family friend where there was a piano. Frierson saw the instrument, went to it, and instinctively began to play recognizable songs. Frierson's mother and her friends were astounded because he had never even seen a piano. By the age of five Frierson was playing all over the town.

After four years of piano study with William King and graduation from high school Frierson went to ...


Charles Rosenberg

the fifth of the seven children of Marion and Jennie Simpson. His father was a porter for a railroad, and later read water meters for a living; there is no record of his mother working outside the home.

Simpson was kept out of school until 5th grade by repeated bouts with diphtheria and rheumatic fever. He was tutored by his sisters and brothers, and when physically able, spent a good deal of time at the Diamond Jenkins orphanage. He still had his family, but Jenkins was a center of music, particularly jazz, where many residents developing their skills turned out to be future professionals, including Cat Anderson Pinkett and Freddie Green Basie In high school he played tenor saxophone clarinet and flute Spending a good deal of time drawing cartoons and painting Simpson was taught from the age of 13 by local art gallery owner William Halsey who ...


Rebecca L. Hankins

curator, writer, and educator, was born in New York City, but not long after moved to Baltimore with his family. Walker's father, Hugh Walker Jr., was a drummer, and his mother, Rosetta Brown Walker, worked a variety of jobs, including seamstress and barmaid. Walker was born as the middle child; the family also included two sisters, Rhonda Richardson and Nyeah Walker Claire.

The Walker family's move to Baltimore saw young Hamza full of self-described rage and alienation, something he has channeled and used throughout his career, showcasing other artists’ works of alienation. Walker's admitted first love is music, and he worked as a DJ on a jazz show for WHPK-FM 88 during college. He attended the University of Chicago, graduating with a bachelor of arts in 1988. After college Walker's first position was in 1988 with Urban Gateways an arts education organization where he established ...