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Blacks in the Arts

by

Kathy I. Jenkins

1798

Joshua Johnston, a "self-taught genius," was the first Black portrait painter acknowledged in America.

1818

The first Black to publish sheet music was Frank ("Francis") Johnson.

1826

A Black Shakespearean actor, Ira Aldridge, began his stage career studying and performing throughout Europe.

1845

William Henry Lane, "Master Juba," was considered the first Black dance star.

1851

A slave from Mississippi, Elizabeth Greenfield, also known as the "Black Swan," was considered the first African American musical artist to gain recognition outside the United States.

1858

Although a slave born blind, Thomas Greene ("Blind Tom") Bethune, was the first Black pianist to win national fame.

1870

The first Black American sculptor to study abroad was Mary Edmonia Lewis.

1878

Songwriter, minstrel performer, and former Howard University law student James A. Bland published the song "Carry Me Back to Ole Virginny" and became the first Black to compose a song that became an official state song.

1890

Renowned artist, Henry O. Tanner, widely recognized for his religious paintings, completed one of his most famous works, "The Banjo Lesson."

 

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HUAN 7 
February 2001