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Lisa E. Rivo

singer, musician, educator, and advocate for African American music and musicians, was born Emma Azalia Smith in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Henry Smith, a blacksmith and native of Murfreesboro, and Corilla Beard, the daughter of Wilson Beard, an escaped slave who began a profitable laundry business after fleeing to Detroit. Following the birth of Azalia, as she was called, Corilla Smith opened a school in Murfreesboro for newly freed slave children. In 1870, just after the birth of Azalia's sister Marietta increasing hostility from local whites forced Corilla Smith to close the school The family moved to Detroit Michigan where Henry Smith opened a curio shop and Corilla Smith taught school In the early 1880s the couple separated and Corilla raised her daughters on wages earned by private tutoring In Detroit the Smiths were the first black family in their neighborhood and ...


Emma Azalia Smith Hackley, the daughter of Corilla Beard and Henry Smith, was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She was raised in Detroit, Michigan, where the family moved after her mother's school was closed due to opposition from the white community. She started taking piano lessons at age three, later studying violin and voice, and played professionally after school.

In 1883 Hackley became the first African American to attend Washington Normal School, taking education classes and supporting herself by teaching music lessons. After her graduation, she taught second grade until 1894 when she eloped with journalist Edwin Henry. They moved to Denver, where Hackley organized a branch of the Colored Women's League and earned a music degree from the University of Denver (1900). In 1901 she separated from her husband and left Denver.

Hackley settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and served as a church musical ...


Lois Bellamy

pianist, impresario, opera director, producer, television host, and educator, was born in Harlem, New York, to Walter Jones, born 1910, and Lucille Fairs, born 1908, a housewife from Wilmington, North Carolina. His father worked at the Capitol Theatre, which premiered the film version of Gone with the Wind.R. Wellington Jones had a sister, Jean Jones, now deceased. His maternal grandmother, Sukie Fairs, was a slave as a child and lived 106 years. His paternal grandfather was killed by the Ku Klux Klan in Scotland Neck, North Carolina, in the early 1920s. His great grandparents were slaves and part of the Cherokee Nation.

Wellington Jones graduated from New York's famed High School of Music and Art in 1958, and earned both his bachelor's degree (1962) and master of arts degree (1964 in Music ...