From the African American Registry

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

On this date in 1899, Duke Ellington was born. He was an African-American jazz composer, band leader, and pianist.

Born Edward Kennedy Ellington in Washington, D.C., into a middle-class family, he acquired the nickname Duke as a child for his manners, clothing, and personality. He began playing for friends and at parties and soon formed a small dance band named The Duke’s Serenaders. In 1923 Ellington moved to New York City, 4 years later Ellington began performing at The Cotton Club, the most prominent nightclub in the Harlem area of New York City at the time.

Read more about Duke Ellington here.