“First Lady in Song”

You might know “Summertime”,  a unique hit found on Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald’s 1958 album “Porgy and Bess”. Ella Fitzgerald, nicknamed First Lady in Song had an outstanding voice so it was hard for venues to turn her down on the basis of her race. Her mother Tempie, passed away when she was 15. Fitzgerald took her chance when she won a drawing at the Apollo Theater in 1934. She launched her career that night, and few years later found herself playing with Dizzy Gillespie’s band. Norman Ganz, her manager did not tolerate racism. He took off “White Only” signs wherever the band toured. Fitzgerald was constantly harassed, turned down by clubs, forced off a plane in Australia in order to provide more seats for white patrons. Although Fitzgerald was not politically involved, she opened the gates for future young African Americans with her confidence and resilience. In 1975, the NAACP presented Fitzgerald with the President’s Award.  

One Reply to ““First Lady in Song””

  1. Music is such a great way to spread a message and get your voice heard. Today we see many celebrities use there voices to try and make a change in their community. What Fitzgerald was trying to do was open the door for other black female musicians to continue their dreams. Many young black girls were probably afraid to show that they had a voice but once Fitzgerald stepped out that all changed. This same story reminds me of another person. Even tho this person is not a woman it still fits into her story. His name was Jackie Robinson. He was the first African American to be in the major league. He paved the way for others to follow their baseball dreams just like she did for musicians

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