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Black History Month, Dove, and Family: <p>Black history month day 8: Singer-songwriter Billie Holiday</p> <p>Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia on April 7, 1915. in Philadelphia. She was the daughter of an unmarried teenaged couple an her father did not live with her mother. Not long after Holiday was born, her father abandoned his family to pursue a career as a jazz musician and her mother moved to Philadelphia at age 19 after being kicked out of her parents&rsquo; home for becoming pregnant. Holiday spent most of her young childhood living with her aunt and her aunt’s mother-in-law in Baltimore while her mother worked transportation jobs.</p> <p>Holiday had a tumultuous childhood, having difficulty adjusting to her mother’s frequent absences and being regularly truant from school, she was brought before juvenile court and sent to a Catholic reform school when she was nine. By age 11 she had dropped out of school entirely. Shortly after that she working long hours at a restaurant, was nearly raped by her neighbor, and moved with her mother to Harlem where they both became prostitutes, all before Holiday was 14.</p> <p>Later in her teen years, the girl born Eleanora began to sing at nightclubs under the stage name Billie Holiday, after actress Billie Dove and her father Clarence Holiday. She was quickly noticed for her unique improvisational style and earthy, and distinct vocals that made up for her lack of formal training and range. She shot to popularity in the 30s and 40s, releasing such haunting classics as “Gloomy Sunday“ and ”Strange Fruit” along with many other recordings treasured in the standard library of jazz classics. </p> <p>Sadly, the hardness of her life did not end with her public success. Much of her money went into feeding her drug and alcohol addictions that eventually contributed to her death of liver and heart failure at only 44.</p>
Black History Month, Dove, and Family: <p>Black history month day 8: Singer-songwriter Billie Holiday</p>

<p>Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia on April 7, 1915. in Philadelphia. She was the daughter of an unmarried teenaged couple an her father did not live with her mother. Not long after Holiday was born, her father abandoned his family to pursue a career as a jazz musician and her mother moved to Philadelphia at age 19 after being kicked out of her parents&rsquo; home for becoming pregnant. Holiday spent most of her young childhood living with her aunt and her aunt’s mother-in-law in Baltimore while her mother worked transportation jobs.</p>

<p>Holiday had a tumultuous childhood, having difficulty adjusting to her mother’s frequent absences and being regularly truant from school, she was brought before juvenile court and sent to a Catholic reform school when she was nine. By age 11 she had dropped out of school entirely. Shortly after that she working long hours at a restaurant, was nearly raped by her neighbor, and moved with her mother to Harlem where they both became prostitutes, all before Holiday was 14.</p>

<p>Later in her teen years, the girl born Eleanora began to sing at nightclubs under the stage name Billie Holiday, after actress Billie Dove and her father Clarence Holiday. She was quickly noticed for her unique improvisational style and earthy, and distinct vocals that made up for her lack of formal training and range. She shot to popularity in the 30s and 40s, releasing such haunting classics as “Gloomy Sunday“ and ”Strange Fruit” along with many other recordings treasured in the standard library of jazz classics. </p>

<p>Sadly, the hardness of her life did not end with her public success. Much of her money went into feeding her drug and alcohol addictions that eventually contributed to her death of liver and heart failure at only 44.</p>

<p>Black history month day 8: Singer-songwriter Billie Holiday</p> <p>Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia on April 7, 19...

Black History Month, Church, and Girls: <p>Black history month artistic figures day five: Singer, pianist, and activist Nina Simone.</p> <p>Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina in 1933. She started playing piano when she was three years old and dreamed to one day become an a concert pianist. Her first official recital performance was it a classical recital when she was 12. Her parents, who had taken front row seats for the recital, were forced to move to the back due to segregation at the venue. When Simone found out about it, she refused to play until her parents were allowed to move back to the front. This event sparked her later activism.</p> <p>With the help of scholarship money, Simone was able to attend Allen High School for Girls in Asheville, North Carolina. After her graduation she spent the summer of 1950 at the Juilliard School, as a student of Carl Friedberg, preparing for her addition at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Despite a fantastic and well received audition, Simone was denied admission to the school. She suspected racial prejudice was to blame.</p> <p>In order to make ends meet, Simone ended up taking a job as a resident pianist and singer at a bar. This is when she changed her name from Eunice Waymon to Nina Simone, in order to disguise her identity from her minister parents who did not approve of her playing “the devil’s music“ in bars and clubs. Her mixture of genres, including jazz, blues, and classical music in her performances at the bar earned her a small but loyal fan base.</p> <p>Though she had always drawn on her African-American roots in her music, in the 60s and 70s Simone became very active in civil rights and anti-Vietnam causes. She wrote her now well known song “Mississippi Goddam” in response to racist attacks and murders, including the high profile Birmingham church bombing that killed for little black girls and partially blinded a fifth. She considered it her first civil rights anthem.</p> <p>Later in life Simone moved Barbados and then France, where she lived out her days until passing of breast cancer in 2003. Her ashes were scattered in several African countries and she is survived by one daughter, an actress and singer who uses the stage name Simone.</p>
Black History Month, Church, and Girls: <p>Black history month artistic figures day five: Singer, pianist, and activist Nina Simone.</p>

<p>Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina in 1933. She started playing piano when she was three years old and dreamed to one day become an a concert pianist. Her first official recital performance was it a classical recital when she was 12. Her parents, who had taken front row seats for the recital, were forced to move to the back due to segregation at the venue. When Simone found out about it, she refused to play until her parents were allowed to move back to the front. This event sparked her later activism.</p>

<p>With the help of scholarship money, Simone was able to attend Allen High School for Girls in Asheville, North Carolina. After her graduation she spent the summer of 1950 at the Juilliard School, as a student of Carl Friedberg, preparing for her addition at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Despite a fantastic and well received audition, Simone was denied admission to the school. She suspected racial prejudice was to blame.</p>

<p>In order to make ends meet, Simone ended up taking a job as a resident pianist and singer at a bar. This is when she changed her name from Eunice Waymon to Nina Simone, in order to disguise her identity from her minister parents who did not approve of her playing “the devil’s music“ in bars and clubs. Her mixture of genres, including jazz, blues, and classical music in her performances at the bar earned her a small but loyal fan base.</p>

<p>Though she had always drawn on her African-American roots in her music, in the 60s and 70s Simone became very active in civil rights and anti-Vietnam causes. She wrote her now well known song “Mississippi Goddam” in response to racist attacks and murders, including the high profile Birmingham church bombing that killed for little black girls and partially blinded a fifth. She considered it her first civil rights anthem.</p>

<p>Later in life Simone moved Barbados and then France, where she lived out her days until passing of breast cancer in 2003. Her ashes were scattered in several African countries and she is survived by one daughter, an actress and singer who uses the stage name Simone.</p>

<p>Black history month artistic figures day five: Singer, pianist, and activist Nina Simone.</p> <p>Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Wa...

Black History Month, Family, and Life: <p>Black history month artist edition day 3: American jazz musician Louis Armstrong.</p> <p>Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1901 to a 16-year-old girl. His father abandoned the family soon after his birth. He was raised by his maternal grandmother until the age of five, then went back to live with his mother and attended a school for boys were he learned literacy and was first exposed to music. During his school years, Louis would bring in money delivering coal and other odd jobs working for the Karnoffskys, a family of Lithuanian Jews. The Karnoffskys took Louis under their wing, nurturing him in the absence of his father. In turn, Louis grew to deeply love and respect the family, feeling a special connection with them because they were also mistreated by the “other white folks“ for being Jewish. In a tribute to them, he wore a Star of David pendant for the rest of his life. </p> <p>He came to musical prominence in the 1920s, known for his impressive trumpet stylings and unique, gravelly vocals. He is considered one of the few black artists to successfully cross into the mainstream of American musical culture during that time. He went from playing riverboat bands to being a bandleader and collaborating with many other artists, perhaps most notably with Ella Fitzgerald. Louis always credited his New Orleans upbringing for his musical influences.</p> <p>&ldquo;Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine—I look right in the heart of good old New Orleans&hellip; It has given me something to live for.&rdquo;</p>
Black History Month, Family, and Life: <p>Black history month artist edition day 3: American jazz musician Louis Armstrong.</p>

<p>Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1901 to a 16-year-old girl. His father abandoned the family soon after his birth. He was raised by his maternal grandmother until the age of five, then went back to live with his mother and attended a school for boys were he learned literacy and was first exposed to music. During his school years, Louis would bring in money delivering coal and other odd jobs working for the Karnoffskys, a family of Lithuanian Jews. The Karnoffskys took Louis under their wing, nurturing him in the absence of his father. In turn, Louis grew to deeply love and respect the family, feeling a special connection with them because they were also mistreated by the “other white folks“ for being Jewish. In a tribute to them, he wore a Star of David pendant for the rest of his life. </p>

<p>He came to musical prominence in the 1920s, known for his impressive trumpet stylings and unique, gravelly vocals. He is considered one of the few black artists to successfully cross into the mainstream of American musical culture during that time. He went from playing riverboat bands to being a bandleader and collaborating with many other artists, perhaps most notably with Ella Fitzgerald. Louis always credited his New Orleans upbringing for his musical influences.</p>

<p>&ldquo;Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine—I look right in the heart of good old New Orleans&hellip; It has given me something to live for.&rdquo;</p>

<p>Black history month artist edition day 3: American jazz musician Louis Armstrong.</p> <p>Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1901 to a ...