Shirley Graham Du Bois (1896-1977): Undeserved Obscurity

I was reading about Blackface Minstrelsy this morning, and reading about Mr Du Bois brought to mind his less famous but equally talented wife, Shirley. I owed the library blog a blogpost, so I put these various strands together …

Whittaker Live

Image from Wikipedia

Born in Indianapolis into a religious and politically active family (her father was an African Methodist Episcopal Minister), Shirley Graham Du Bois was a writer, playwright, novelist, composer and an activist for black rights.  The Harvard Radcliffe Institute has a page on this remarkable woman – and she features in Nathan Holder’s book for young adults, Where are all the black women composers?, which we have in the Whittaker Library. 

Nathan Holder – Where are all the Black Women Composers?

There’s also an entry in Oxford Music Online:

Wright, J.  Du Bois, Shirley (Lola) GrahamGrove Music Online. 

Shirley studied composition and orchestration in France in her early thirties, and then studied music at Oberlin College in the United States, also beginning a PhD in English and Education at New York University. Nate Holder tells us that she worked for Morgan College…

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