This month we are highlighting a #blackartist each week that has been a major influencer in the arts community and beyond.
Duke Ellington (1889–1974) made a name for himself as the composer and orchestra leader at Harlem's Cotton Club, a white-patron-only nightclub. He composed more than 2,000 songs and several musicals.
Ellington viewed music as a form of activism. He knew that music could reach people in a way that words simply could not. While he knew the power of words as a poet and writer, he also knew that white people were more likely to listen to music by a Black musician than read the revolutionary writings of a Black activist.
"Black leaders did not so much fight against the racial system in America as quietly and determinedly circumvent it.” - Duke Ellington's America
Learn more about Ellington here, here and here.