Olly Woodrow Wilson, Jr. (1937-2018)

Olly W. Wilson, Jr. was an African American composer of contemporary classical music, a pianist, double bassist, musicologist, and educator. Born in St. Louis, Missouri on September 7, 1937, Wilson was the only son of three children of Olly W. Wilson, Sr., an insurance salesman … Read MoreOlly Woodrow Wilson, Jr. (1937-2018)

Thomas James Ladnier (1900–1939)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Jazz trumpeter Thomas “Tommy” Ladnier was born in Florenville/Mandeville, Louisiana on May 28, 1900. His father was Alfred Ladnier and his mother Willie Williams Ladnier. He played in local bands beginning in 1914 and one of his teachers was trumpeter Bunk … Read MoreThomas James Ladnier (1900–1939)

Hugh Ramopolo Masekela (1939-2018)

Image Ownership: Public Domain As one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians from Africa, Hugh Masekela’s life reflects the creative ways of using music to confront injustices and generate change in his homeland.  Born in the coal-mining town of Witbank (near Johannesburg), South … Read MoreHugh Ramopolo Masekela (1939-2018)

Horace Tapscott (1934-1999)

Pianist, bandleader, and social activist Horace Tapscott committed his life to the empowerment of his South Central Los Angeles community.  Tapscott founded the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra and its umbrella organization, the Union of God’s Musicians and Artists Ascension (UGMAA), both of which were at … Read MoreHorace Tapscott (1934-1999)