Shaw in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Howard Theatre Walk of Fame
Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973)
Sister Rosetta Tharpe, known as the "Godmother of Rock and Roll", broke race and gender barriers with her genre-bending gospel music and guitar prowess. Initially drawing some criticism from churchgoers for the secular sound of her music, Tharpe would eventually pioneer a semblance of gospel, soul, and jazz that was the precursor to rock and roll—her innovative style was often cited by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Chuck Berry.
Billy Eckstine (1914-1993)
Billy Eckstine spent his young adult years in the nearby Truxton Circle neighborhood before launching his career at Howard Theatre's Amateur Night talent competitions. His big band pioneered the bop jazz style, employing young, preeminent emerging artists as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Art Blakey. However, hits like "Cottage for Sale" (1945) and "Caravan" (1949, recording with Duke Ellington) in his solo career following his big band day would cement Eckstine's legacy as one of the country's most influential jazz vocalists.
Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)
Ella Fitzgerald, the "First Lady of Song", got her start as a teenager at one of the Howard Theatre's first Amateur Night talent competitions before moving to Harlem and solidifying her
Cab Calloway (1907-1994)
Cab Calloway, a Baltimore native, led one of the most prominent swing-era big bands through the 1930s and 1940s. His top hit, "Minnie the Moocher" (1931), earned him the nickname "The Hi Di Ho Man"—and ultimately served as the testament to his showmanship and signature scat-style singing.
Mamie Smith (1883-1946)
Mamie Smith, credited with being the first recorded blues singer, established a paradigm of recorded albums marketed primarily to Black Americans—known as race records. Her hit, "Crazy Blues" (1920) singlehandedly broke color barriers in the recording industry, and propelled the blues and jazz genres into mainstream audiences of the 1920s.
Abbie Mitchell 1884-1964
Abbie Mitchell is largely known for her role of Clara in George Gerschwin's 1935 opera, Porgy and Bess. She went to be the first to record "Summertime" (1935), a selection from the opera that is now considered to be a jazz standard. Fifteen years prior, Mitchell shared the bill with several vaudeville acts for the Howard Theatre's opening night on August 22, 1910.
The Howard Theatre Walk of Fame celebrates the District of Columbia's rich musical history and is homage to the iconic
The Walk of Fame was conceived by the neighboring Shaw and LeDroit Park communities, stemming from a desire to preserve and honor the rich history of the historic Howard Theatre.
In 2008, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development teamed with Cultural Tourism DC to research, collect, and prepare relevant historic information related to the Howard Theatre. From this extensive research fifteen (15) artists who had performed at the Howard Theatre were selected to be honored on the Walk of Fame. The selected artist-honorees represent a wide variety of musical genres, made important contributions to the cultural life of the District and achieved a national reputation for artistic excellence. Together, these honorees represent a diverse and dynamic selection of performing artists since the Theatre's founding in 1910.
In 2016, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities issued a request for proposals for the design of the Walk of Fame. Washington, DC-based design firm Hackreative was selected to develop, design, and install the project.
Hackreative project team members included:
Curry Hackett (Principal, urban design)
Jay Coleman (Artist, sculpture)
Joanna Blake (Artist, sculpture)
Harry G. Robinson, III, FAIA (Consultant, urban design)
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC.
Location. 38° 54.893′ N, 77° 1.31′ W. Marker is in Shaw, District of Columbia Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1821 7th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20001, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Grief Turns to Anger (within shouting distance of this marker); Dunbar Theater/Southern Aid Society (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Howard Theatre (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named The Howard Theatre Walk of Fame (about 400 feet away); Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (about 400 feet away); Armed Resistance (about 400 feet away); The Flower Garden of Washington (about 600 feet away); Washington Conservatory of Music and School of Expression/Harriet Gibbs-Marscall/Mary P. Burrill (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shaw.
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment • Women •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 6, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 4, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 32 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 4, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.