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Otis D. Alexander

concert organist, music theorist, and music educator, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and was the second child and first son of seven children. Ward's mother, Effie Elizabeth Crawford Ward, a 1917 graduate of Spelman College in the dressmaking department, was an instructor of sewing at the Evening School, Atlanta Board of Education. His father, Jefferson Sigman Ward, a graduate of the Haynes Institute, Augusta, Georgia, was a World War I veteran and a businessman. Both parents had Native American and black ancestry (his mother had Cherokee and black, his father Choctaw and black). They were active in community, cultural, social, religious, and political organizations.

In the Ward family home was a player piano, and music was a part of family life. Displaying musical abilities, the young Edouard Ward was able to memorize tunes at age two The family s religious activities brought ...