What Is Black History Month?
Black Musicians and Athletes
By Cara J. Stevens
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Musicians and Singers
Louis Armstrong 1901-1971 Trumpet Player and Band Leader
Louis Armstrong became a cultural icon, recognized around the world for his trumpet playing and his way of scatting, or improvising nonsense syllables to accompany his music. His nickname was "Satchel Mouth" or "Satchmo", referring to the way his cheeks puffed out like satchels when he played trumpet.
Miles Davis 1926-1991 Jazz Musician, Trumpet Player
Davis was well known for his method of experimenting with different musical styles to get just the right sound in his music. His album "Kind of Blue" is considered a staple in many jazz collections and serves as a great introduction to classic jazz music.
Billie Holiday 1915-1959 Vocalist
Nicknamed "Lady Day", Billie Holiday is considered one of the greatest female jazz singers of all time.
W.C. Handy 1873-1958 Blues Artist
Handy was a traveling minstrel who brought black American music to the people. He wrote many hit songs and is called by many the "father of the blues".
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington 1899-1974 Musician, composer, bandleader
One of America's greatest composers, Duke wrote almost 6,000 compositions including musicals, jazz tunes, film scores and a ballet.
Tiger Woods 1975- Golfer
Part black, white, Native American and Asian, Tiger's unparalleled performance on the course introduced many people (young and old, and of all ethnicities) to take up the sport.
Wilma Rudolph 1940-1994 Olympic Track and Field Athlete
Rudolph overcame polio at age four to become the first American woman to win three gold medals in track.
Muhammad Ali 1942- Boxer
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., Ali joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name. He won a gold medal in boxing in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. He held the Heavyweight Champion of the World title, and retired with a record of 56 wins and three losses. He was famous for his speed, footwork and skill as well as his rhymes when talking about his upcoming fights.
Michael Jeffrey Jordan 1963- Basketball Player
Jordan stands 6'6" tall. He is famous for his slam-dunk, which is where his nickname, "Air" Jordan came from. He is a two time Olympic gold medallist for basketball, and led his team to six national championships, held 10 NBA scoring titles and is a five-time MVP winner.
Henry "Hank" Aaron 1934- Baseball Player
He is best known for breaking Babe Ruth's home run record. Many spectators booed him from the stands when he broke the record, upset that a black man unseated "The Babe." He retired with a home run total of 755.
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens 1913-1980 Olympic Track and Field Athlete
In the 1936 Olympics in Berlin Germany, Owens won four gold medals in Track, crushing Adolph Hitler's boast of Nazi superiority over blacks. Owens set seven world records during his career and was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Ford in 1976.