This Day in Black History: Nov. 21, 1934

At the age of 17, Ella Fitzgerald makes her singing debut at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York.

Posted: 11/21/2014 12:00 AM EST

Michael Jackson did, James Brown did, Lauryn Hill and Jimi Hendrix did, and so did the Isley Brothers, Gladys Knight and Prince. And, before them all, on Nov. 21, 1934, at 17 years old, Ella Fitzgerald made her way to the Amateur Night at the Apollo stage.

Like so many others debuting at Amateur Night at the Apollo, Fitzgerald walked out into the spotlight and launched her career as a megastar. 

The “First Lady of Song,” Fitzgerald was a jazz singer with remarkable vocal talents. She enjoyed a career in show business that lasted over half a century. In her lifetime, she produced over 70 albums.

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 (Photo: George Konig/Keystone/Getty Images)

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