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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Florence in Lauderdale County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

William Christopher Handy

Home-Museum-Library

 
 
William Christopher Handy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, November 5, 2015
1. William Christopher Handy Marker
Inscription. (side 1)
William Christopher Handy was born on November 16, 1873, in this two-room log cabin, which was located approximately one-half mile north of this site. In 1954, the cabin was dismantled, placed in storage, and restored to its original condition at this location in 1970. Handy grew up in Florence where his father and grandfather were Methodist-Episcopal ministers. Early in life, he developed a deep understanding and appreciation for religious music as performed in black churches. Later, he composed and published more than 30 spirituals. As a young man, Handy traveled widely, performing as a band leader and musician playing the trumpet and cornet. From 1901 to 1903, he taught music at the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College in Normal, Alabama. From 1903, to 1909, he directed the Knights of Pythias Band in Clarksdale, Mississippi. In 1909, Handy moved to Memphis, Tennessee. There, he composed the "Memphis Blues." This popular work, along with the "Saint Louis Blues," the "Beale Street Blues," and 37 other blues tunes, made him an internationally prominent figure in the music world. Handy moved to New York in 1918 and established a very successful music publishing business. He spent the next several decades actively involved in the music business while composing and performing.
(Continued on other side)

(side
William Christopher Handy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, November 5, 2015
2. William Christopher Handy Marker
2)
(Continued from other side)
Handy had a deep appreciation of his own race, its heritage, and accomplishments. He wrote, edit and published five books on this subject, including his own autobiography entitled The Father of the Blues. Florence, Alabama, was always home to Handy and he often returned to visit relatives and friends. In the summer of 1931, during a visit to Florence, he planned and conducted an elaborate concert. Funds raised at this event were donated to the Greater St. Paul AME Church. In the late 1930s, Handy went blind and in 1955 he suffered a stroke which confined him to a wheelchair. He continued to compose music until his death on March 28, 1958, at the age of 84. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York City. The City of Florence honors the "Father of the Blues" each year with a birthday party at the W.C. Handy Museum. The Handy legacy is also honored each summer with the W.C. Handy Music Festival. A statue of Handy is located in Wilson Park and his accomplishments are recognized with a plaque on the Walk of Honor in River Heritage Park. A second historical marker is located at the intersection of Cherokee and Beale Streets, indicating the original Handy home location.
 
Erected 2013 by Florence Historical Board.
 
Location.
William Christopher Handy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, November 5, 2015
3. William Christopher Handy Marker
34° 47.757′ N, 87° 41.099′ W. Marker is in Florence, Alabama, in Lauderdale County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of West College Street and South Marengo Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. This marker is located next to the W.C. Handy Home/Musuem. Marker is at or near this postal address: 620 W College St, Florence AL 35630, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. W. C. Handy Birthplace (within shouting distance of this marker); Burrell Normal School (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church (about 700 feet away); The Greater Mount Moriah (approx. 0.4 miles away); Dred Scott (approx. half a mile away); Karsner-Kennedy House (approx. half a mile away); Wheeler Rifles (approx. 0.6 miles away); Trinity Episcopal Church 1894 (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Florence.
 
Also see . . .
1. W. C. Handy Birthplace, Museum & Library. (Submitted on November 6, 2015.)
2. W.C. Handy Music Festival. (Submitted on November 6, 2015.)
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainment
 
William Christopher Handy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, November 5, 2015
4. William Christopher Handy Marker
William Christopher Handy Statue in Wilson Park image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 25, 2009
5. William Christopher Handy Statue in Wilson Park
Birthday Cake "Father of the Blues" 2011 image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, November 16, 2009
6. Birthday Cake "Father of the Blues" 2011
2011 Birthday Celebration for Handy image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, November 16, 2009
7. 2011 Birthday Celebration for Handy
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 5, 2015, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 185 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on November 5, 2015, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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