W.C. Handy

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by IsaacA27
Last updated 6 years ago

Language Arts
Writers Biographies

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W.C. Handy

W.C. Handy was born on November 16th, 1873, In Florence, Alabama. He lived in a house built by his grandparents with his father, a very conservative Pasture, and his Mother. When he was a teenager, Handy secretly worked picking nuts and berries and making lye soap to buy a Guitar. When his father saw the guitar, he asked Handy "What possessed you to bring a sinful thing like that into our Christian home?" and ordered Handy to "Take it back where it came from." Shortly after this, Handy's father enrolled him in Bagpipe lessons, which Handy quickly abandoned to learn to play the Cornet. He secretly joined a band and bought a Cornet off a fellow band member, which he spent all his free time practicing. As a young adult, W.C. worked on a shovel brigade. He found the sound of all the works shovels' on stone as a complicated form of percussion. Next, Handy went to Birmingham, Alabama to take a Teaching Exam. He passed the exam easily, but didn't like teaching because the pay was too low. Instead, Handy got a job at a Pipe works plant. On his off time, Handy organized the Lauzetta Quartet. The quartet went to Chicago World Fair, only to find it had been postponed for a year. After this the Quartet disbanded. Handy then played Cornet solo at the World Fair in 1893, then he joined a succesful band in Evansville, India. He left this band to become bandmaster of the Mahara's Colored Minstrels. The Mahara's went on a three year tour all around the U.S. and Cuba. During this tour, Handy Met his future wife in 1896. Shortly after, they got married, also in 1896. They moved back to Handy's hometown of Florence, Alabama, and had six children. After this, Handy was hired to teach music at the AAMC, but, after a few years, Handy got in an arguement with the president of the school, and quit. Now that he was jobless, Handy decided to rejoin the Mahara's Colored Minstrels. He toured with them through the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest. Then he joined a band organized by the Knights Of Pythias. While part of this band, Handy lived in Mississippi. Here he learned a lot about music. Handy left his Pythias band, and created a new band. Handy moved this band to Memphis, where he played in clubs along Beale Street. It was during this time that handy started creating the blues. Handy's blues music became extremely popular, and Handy decided to created a family owned music publishing company. There was also a movie created about Handy. After his musical career, Handy wrote five books about music, one of these books being an autobiography. Handy lived out the rest of his life in Striver's Row, Harlem. After falling off a subway platform, Handy became blind. Following his fall, Handy had a stroke that caused him to have to use a Wheelchair. On March 28, 1958, Handy died in a hospital in New York, and is buried in Woodland Cemetery, Bronx, New York.


Handy wrote five books about music, one of them being an Autobiagraphy.He played Cornet at the Chicago World Fair in 1893. Handy wrote lots of Blues music, and played a signifigant role in creating The Blues.

Lasting Impact

Handy is known as "Father of The Blues" Because of his role in the creation of that genre



W.C. HandyBiography


1873 - BornTeenage Life - Learned To Play The Cornet1893- Played Cornet at the Chicago World Fair.1896- Met his wife on a Band Tour.1917- Owned a publishing business in New York1929- Movie about Handy was created.1958 - Died Of Bronchial Pneumonia


Handy's Famous "Memphis Blues"


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