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K. Wise Whitehead

music teacher, violinist, and the first African American woman to earn a degree from the University of Pennsylvania, was born free in Philadelphia to David Bustill Bowser, an ornamental painter, and Elizabeth (Liz) Harriet Stevens Gray Bowser, a seamstress. David Bowser's grandfather was the educator, abolitionist, and baker Cyrus Bustill. Cyrus was both the son and the slave of the white attorney Samuel Bustill and was later freed by Thomas Prior, a Quaker member of the Society of Friends, in Burlington, New Jersey. He was also the grandfather of the abolitionist Sarah Mapps Douglass. In 1787 Cyrus was one of the founders of Philadelphia's Free African Society. Elizabeth Bowser was the daughter of Satterthwait, a Delaware Indian, and Richard Morey, the son of Humphrey Morrey, a white Quaker who was the first mayor of Philadelphia appointed by William Penn in 1691.

Ida s parents were ...


Mark G. Emerson

Born in Washington, D.C., to Charles Remond Douglass and his first wife, Mary Elizabeth Murphy (Libby) Douglass, Joseph Henry Douglass was widely viewed as Frederick Douglass's favorite grandchild. When his mother died in the spring of 1879, Joseph and his older brother, Charles Frederick, moved in with their uncle, Frederick Douglass Jr., until their father reunited the family after marrying Laura Antoinette Haley. After studying music at the New England Conservatory in Boston and later in Europe, Joseph returned to Washington, D.C., where he taught music at Howard University and performed often in public. Highly acclaimed as a violinist, Joseph performed at the White House on several occasions for the presidents William McKinley and William Howard Taft and during the weeklong festivities celebrating the inauguration of Grover Cleveland He also became the first black violinist to record for the Victor Talking Machine Company later ...


David Bradford

a renowned violin soloist, was born in Washington, DC. to Charles Remond Douglass, a U.S. government clerk, and Mary Elizabeth Murphy Douglass.

Joseph Douglas was one of the first black instrumentalists to have a successful career as a concert artist. He was a grandson of Frederick Douglass, who in addition to being a renowned abolitionist and civil rights advocate, was an accomplished amateur violinist. Joseph's father, Charles, also played the instrument. Frederick Douglass, who enjoyed playing duets with Joseph, was highly supportive of his grandson's musical ambitions, and helped to launch his career.

While still a teenager, Joseph played in an all-black chamber orchestra based in Washington DC, which his grandfather had a hand in organizing and for which he served as president. The orchestra was conducted by Will Marion Cook a brilliant young European trained violinist who later became a pioneer of black ...