This Day in Black History: March 28, 1958

This Day in Black History: March 28, 1958

W.C. Handy, known as “The Father of the Blues,” dies at age 84.

Published March 28, 2012

Blues composer and musician W.C. Handy died of bronchial pneumonia in New York City at the age of 84. Handy is regarded by many as “The Father of the Blues” and one of the most influential names in American popular music history. He is also credited for bringing Blues music to the mainstream in the early 20th century. The son of emancipated slaves, Handy was raised in rural Florence, AL, and discovered his incredible ear for music as a child. He would go on to become a successful bandleader in Memphis, TN and would eventually move his work to New York City, where he scored notoriety with hits such as "Aunt Hagar’s Blues” and put together the first blues show at Carnegie Hall in 1928. Handy published his autobiography, Father of the Blues, in 1941.

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Written by Britt Middleton


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