Georgia Blanche Douglas was born September 10, 1880 in Marietta, Georgia. Her father was a wealthy Englishman of whom she knew very little. She attended Atlanta University, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Cleveland College of Music, and Howard University. After returning from Ohio, she worked as an assistant principal in Atlanta. In the late 1890’s she studied music at Oberlin in Ohio. She was married in 1903 to Henry Lincoln Johnson, an Atlanta attorney and politician.In 1910 the couple moved to Washington, DC where they had two sons.
There, her home, which she called the Half-Way House, was the site of a weekly gathering known as the “S Street Salon” where many prominent writers of the Harlem Renaissance introduced new works. These writers included Mary P. Burrill, Countee Cullen, Jean Toomer, and Langston Hughes, as well as Angelina Weld Grimke. Continue reading
Though during her life Zora Neale Hurston claimed her birth date as January 7, 1901 and her birth place as Eatonville, Florida, she was actually born on that date in the year 1891 in Notasulga, Alabama. Within the first year or two of her life her family moved to all-black Eatonville, however, and this community shaped her life and her writing to a significant degree.
ohn Hurston, the author’s father, was a carpenter and a preacher and was several times elected mayor of their town. Her mother, Lucy, died in 1904.Â The young Zora didn’t take very well to her new stepmother and left home to work for a traveling theatre company, then in 1917 attended Morgan Academy in Baltimore to finish high school.Â Continue reading
Born in 1926, John William Coltrane moved to Philadelphia after graduating from high school. He mastered the alto, tenor and sprano sax and began playing in local venues. In 1945 he joined the US Navy band. A few years later, he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s big band where he stayed until 1951.
He underwent a “spiritual awakening” of sorts in 1957 and as a result he kicked his drug and alcohol habits. Coltrane was a jazz explorer, he was perhaps one of the greatest innovators of modern music. Interested in free jazz and Indian scales, he was always forging new paths into unknown territory.