Childhood• He saved his money from picking berries and nuts to buy a guitar.• Since he didn’t have an instrument, he invested in a small trumpet, which he played at local barbershops• By the age ﬁfteen, Handy was featured in a minstrel show, and by twenty he performed at the Chicago World’s Fair.
Education• Handy was able to read, write and align music.• He went to the Florence District School for Negroes where his teacher enjoyed music and taught the students voice and music instructions that would allow them to sing religious material without the use of instruments.• They learned to sing in all keys, measures, and movements.• He went on to study at the Teachers Agricultural and Mechanical College in Huntsville, Alabama. He later became a schoolteacher but moved on to continue with his music.
INF • As a young boy Handy was inspired by music heL heard in churchU • Local MusiciansEN • And the tone of the guitar in classical westernC music.eS
A Music DirectorIn 1900-1902, Handy was specially invited to teach music at Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical College for Negros.
SuccessfulCompositions • “Memphis Blues” was the 1st successful song that spread around widely and helped Handy gain popularity • “St. Louis Blues” was the ﬁrst song to be released on Pace and Handy Music Co., and has the most recordings • “Yellow Dog Blues” was the best-selling composition • “Beale St. Blues” is also another famous song
Highlights 1913 • Handy met Harry Pace and teamed up to make Pace and Handy Music Company in Memphis. Text W.C Handy’s Memphis Orchestra 1920• Handy and his orchestra got the opportunity to record for Paramount, increasing his popularity
Awards & Music Festivals• W.C. Handy Music Festival is held every year in Florence, Alabama• Week long festival featuring biggest and legendary jazz/ blues artists • The Handy Awards, renamed Blues Music Award, honors the most celebrated blues artists
Death• 1943 Handy came across a terrible accident, by falling off a New York City subway, fracturing his skull and leaving him permanently blind.• In 1955 Handy suffered a stroke which has him in a wheelchair, and on March 28th, 1958 he died of pneumonia.• Over 25,000 people had gone to his funeral in Harlems Abyssinian Baptist Church.• Another film was made in his honor "St. Louis Blues".
B W.C Handy’s life story was projected into a silver screen movie that played across theO country. He would forever be memorable.OK FS I• W.C. Handy wrote an autobiography titled, Father L•• of the Blues Wrote 4 other books Blues: An Anthology: Complete Words and Music of 53 Great Songs M• Book of Negro Spirituals• Unsung Americans Sing• Negro Authors and Composers of the United States