William Christopher Handy
Handy was an American black composer and compiler of "BLUES" music. He
was born in Florence, Alabama. He was educated at the Negro Agricultural and
Mechanical College near Huntsville, Alabama. He was the son of former slaves. He
was educated in the public schools and by his father and paternal grandfather, both of
whom were clergymen. Handy was the first to bring the African- American blues to the
general publics attention with the publication of his MEMPHIS BLUES in 1912. He
began his musical career as a cornet soloist and bandmaster with minstrel shows;
one of his earislst engagements was with the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago
Handy also founded a music publishing house and edited and wrote several
books , including the autobiographical Father of the Blues (1941). Originally, the blues
were a type of black folk song little known beyond the southern United States.
songs brought the blues to international attention.
Handy's career was rooted in popular music. He began his career in 1896 as a minstrel
show and vaudville corntist and bandleader and then became one of the first publishers
of music by black composers.
William Christopher Handy was born on Nov,16, 1873, in Florence, Ala, the son
of former slaves . As a 15-year-old he left home to work in a traveling minstrel show, but
he soon returned when his money ran out. He attended Teachers Agreicultural &
Mechanical College in Huntsville, Alabama, and worked as a school teacher and
bandmaster. In 1893, during an economic depression, he formed a quartet to perform at
the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. For several years afterward he drifted
around the country working at different jobs. Eventually he settled in Memphas, Tenn.
Although he lost his eyesight at age 30, after WW1 he...