W.C. Handy was born on November 16th, 1873 in Florence, Alabama. He grew up in a run-down, rural area and lived in a log cabin his grandfather made. He always had a passion for music, and often listened to bands such as, "Tennessee River," but his family and church discouraged him and frowned upon his love for music. Handy's first interaction with an instrument was when he bought a guitar by secretly earning money through picking berries. But, when Handy proudly showed his father his accomplishment, he was forced to return it in exchange for a dictionary. Despite his disappointment, Handy never gave up; in his teen years he joined a local band and bought a cornet from one of the players. This was the time in William's life that he started seriously thinking about becoming a musician (http://www2.una.edu/library/handy/).
As a student, Handy was near the top of his class, and easily passed a teaching test.
He taught music until the salary proved unacceptable; and for that reason, Handy resigned and went to work at a pipe factory. After finding that the pipe factory did not suit him either, Handy conducted a band in which he entitled the, "Lauzetta Quartet." But, soon the band was ended; after willingly saving up enough money for a competition in Chicago (and using the money to go to Chicago), they were only to find that it had been postponed for a year, all the students quit. But, even after the disappointment, Handy still taught students how to read music 9http://www2.una.edu/library/handy/).
Deciding to play himself again, Handy joined a travelers band (called "Mahara's Minstrels"), and after being in the South West and the South East, seeing places including (but not limited to) Texas, Georgia, and Cuba, Handy took a much deserved relaxing visit back home...