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Joseph Douglass
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Violinist
    (1871-1931)
    Born in Anacostia, Washington, District of Columbia
    Joseph Henry Douglass
    Grandson of Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
    Broke ground as one of the first major African-American concert violinists
    First gained notice performing at the Chicago World's Fair, or The World's Columbian Exposition (Aug. 25, 1893)
    Performed for four sitting U.S. Presidents, including McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft
    Later held tenured positions at Howard University and the Colored Music Settlement School
    His grandfather organized the 'Colored Day' celebration where he first gained national recognition.
    Many compliments from reviewers were perfunctory and back-handed in nature (one newspaper calling him 'the most talented violinist of his race').
    Little is known about his personal life, or how he related to his famous grandfather (who died two years after his grandson made his debut).
    His recordings done for the Victor Talking Machine Company were not released and are presumed to be permanently lost or destroyed.
    Its also unclear if he wrote any of his own compositions, but if he did none of them have survived to antiquity to be performed.
    He reached musical stardom by the age of only 22.
    His musical talent stemmed from his father and grandfather, who both enjoyed playing the violin in their family home.
    He was most at home playing old-time slave spirituals and hymns he was taught by his family.
    He shared a performance slot with Paul Laurence Dunbar at the World's Fair 'Colored Day' event.
    He performed at the Grand Military Concert sponsored by the U.S. Marine Band for President Grover Cleveland's Inauguration.
    He may have been the first Black performer (violinist or otherwise) to make transcontinental tours, and to become revered nationally.
    He was the first violinist (of any race) to record for the Victor Talking Machine Company, in 1914.
    His wife was an accomplished pianist who very often accompanied his performances.
    One of his private students at Howard University was famed 'Ouanga' composer, Clarence Cameron White.
    After his death, his widow donated his violin (a copy of the German Stradivarius) to the U.S. Dept of the Interior (1935).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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