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Zachary J. Lechner

musician, was born Johnnie Clyde Johnson in Fairmont, West Virginia, to Priscilla Banks Johnson and Johnnie “Buddy” Johnson, a coalminer. After Priscilla's death, Buddy's sister Cora and her husband Ernest Williams took in the infant Johnnie. Cora later purchased an upright piano, and a young Johnnie took to the instrument immediately. He quickly learned big band, R&B, and country tunes by listening to late-night radio broadcasts. One of Johnson's favorite artists was Meade “Lux” Lewis. Lewis's boogie-woogie style, in which the left hand plays a heavy, steady rhythm, would influence Johnson's piano technique. Johnson moved to Detroit at seventeen and there found work on a Ford Motor Company assembly line. Johnson served in the Marines in the South Pacific in World War II. He joined the Barracudas, a twenty-two piece orchestra that included servicemen from such bands as Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, and Glenn Miller ...


professional boxer and actor, was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, to George Florence, a World War II veteran, and Ruth Norton, an activities director at a hospital, who would later marry John Norton a fireman and police dispatcher From an early age Norton excelled in sports which he claimed protected him from much of the racism that pervaded his hometown In high school Norton became a star in football baseball and track and field Although gifted intellectually Norton did only the work required of him and as a result did not do well in school However his athletic achievements led to scholarship offers from over ninety institutions Fearful of venturing too far from home Norton accepted a football scholarship from Northeast Missouri State University later Truman State University a teacher s college where he played basketball and football During his sophomore year Norton got into an argument ...