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Andre D. Vann

singer, writer, and socialite, was born Maria Hawkins in the Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts. Her father, Mingo Hawkins, was a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service, which at the time was considered a prestigious position for an African American; her mother, Carol Saunders, was from Bermuda. Maria was born the second of three daughters, and when she was only two years old her mother died while giving birth to her youngest sister, Carol. Immediately all three girls were sent to live with their father's sister, Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown, who was the founder and president of the Palmer Memorial Institute, the nation's most distinguished finishing school for blacks. There Cole was exposed to the likes of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary McCleod Bethune, and even Eleanor Roosevelt, among other noteworthy guests.

As a student at the Palmer Memorial Institute Cole ...


Roanne Edwards

Shirley Graham Du Bois was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the oldest of David A. Graham and Etta (Bell) Graham's five children. Growing up, she moved with her family to various locations throughout the United States. As a teenager in Colorado Springs, Colorado, she first met W. E. B. Du Bois when he came to lecture at the local African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). Soon after high school, she married a local man, Shadrack T. McCanns. The marriage soon ended, leaving her with two small children to support. “In quick succession I knew the glory of motherhood and the pain of deep sorrow,” she wrote later. “For the years immediately following, everything I did … was motivated by my passionate desire to make a good life for my sons.”

The nomadic quality of Graham s early life carried over into her educational experiences and into her later years ...


Elizabeth Brown-Guillory

When Shirley Graham wrote in a 1933Crisis essay, “Black man’s music has become America’s music. It will not die,” she summed up one of her life’s ambitions: to bring to the foreground the many accomplishments of African Americans in every field. One of Graham’s concerns was that African Americans would eventually abandon their spirituals, with their unique rhythms and haunting melodies. In an effort to preserve black music, she became the first African American woman to write and produce an all-black opera, Tom-Toms: An Epic of Music and the Negro (1932). This was just one successful effort in a lifetime devoted to the preservation of black history and culture.

Shirley Lola Graham was born on a farm near Evansville, Indiana, to David Andrew Graham and Etta Bell Graham Graham and her four brothers were encouraged by their father a Methodist missionary to discover black culture ...


Jennifer Jensen Wallach

author, composer, and activist. When Shirley Graham Du Bois was thirteen years old she met the prominent scholar and activist W. E. B. Du Bois. The meeting had a profound impact on her political and personal development, for she eventually married Du Bois in 1951. She became well known as W. E. B. Du Bois's second wife, causing some to overlook her tremendous personal accomplishments.

Shirley Graham was born near Evansville, Indiana, to David Graham and Etta Graham. Her father was an African Methodist Episcopal minister, a career that caused him to move his family to various locations in the United States, including Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, and Nashville. At his churches Shirley first discovered a love for music, learning to play the organ and piano. She completed high school in Spokane, Washington, and then moved to Seattle, where she married Shadrack T. McCants ...


Vernitta Brothers Tucker

author, composer, playwright, and activist, was born Shirley Lola Graham in Evansville, Indiana, the daughter of David A. Graham, a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Etta Bell Graham, a homemaker. Graham's father had read many novels to his daughter, including Uncle Tom's Cabin, Les Miserables, Ben Hur, and Quo Vadis?, influencing her to become a voracious reader. His storytelling and commitment to intellectual pursuits strongly influenced Graham's literary development.

Young Graham's early education began in New Orleans, where her exposure to classic literature put her at an advantage over many of her classmates. When she was eight or nine years old, her family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she earned her first income writing for the local newspaper. In 1912 she attended Tenth Street High School in Clarksville Tennessee where she distinguished herself as the class poet and ...


Nagueyalti Warren

and multitalented recipient of the National Academy of Arts and Letters Award for contributions to American literature. Shirley Lola Graham, the only daughter of Etta Bell Graham and Reverend David A. Graham, was born on 11 November 1896 in Indianapolis, Indiana, the oldest of five children. Free-spirited, talented, and ambitious, Graham resisted the shackles of race and gender. She divorced her first husband, worked to support two sons, and established a career for herself at a time when women had only recently gained the right to vote.

In 1926, Graham studied music and French at the Sorbonnne. Although her tenure there predates the Negritude movement, her musical training was enriched by interaction with African and Afro-Caribbean students in Paris. In 1931 she enrolled with advanced standing as a sophomore at Oberlin College in Ohio Her statement of intent there recorded in the college s archives made ...


Lucius R. Wyatt

(b Lorain, OH, Oct 8, 1936). American composer. While in high school he studied the french horn, cello and conducting with teachers at the Oberlin College Conservatory. He then attended Ohio State University (BM 1958) and occasionally played the horn in the Columbus SO. In New York he studied composition privately with Overton and attended the Juilliard School, where his teachers were Berio, Persichetti, Sessions and Druckman (MM 1966); in 1967 he was a pupil of Stefan Wolpe. Moore has held teaching positions at the Dalton School, the New School for Social Research, Manhattanville College, La Guardia College, Queens College, Brooklyn College, Carnegie-Mellon University and Yale University. In addition to composing, he is known as a writer on music and has served as critic for the Village Voice; in 1969 he published Somebody's Angel Child: the Story of Bessie Smith. In 1972 ...