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William Christopher Handy Handy was an American black composer and compiler of BLUES music He was born in Florence Alabama He was educated at the Negro Agricultural and Mechanical College near Huntsville Alabama He was the son of former slaves He was educated in the public schools and by his father and paternal grandfather both of whom were clergymen Handy was the first to bring the African- American blues to the general publics attention with the publication of his MEMPHIS BLUES in 1912 He began his musical career as a cornet soloist and bandmaster with minstrel shows one of his earislst engagements was with the Worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 Handy also founded a music publishing house and edited and wrote several books including the autobiographical Father of the Blues 1941 Originally the blues were a type of black folk song little known beyond the southern United States Handys songs brought the blues to international attention Handys career was rooted in popular music He began his career in 1896 as a minstrel show and vaudville corntist and bandleader and then became one of the first publishers of music by black composers William Christopher Handy was born on Nov16 1873 in Florence Ala the son of former slaves As a 15-year-old he left home to work in a traveling minstrel show but he soon returned when his money ran out He attended Teachers Agreicultural Mechanical College in Huntsville Alabama and worked as a school teacher and bandmaster In 1893 during an economic depression he formed a quartet to perform at the Worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago For several years afterward he drifted around the country working at different jobs Eventually he settled in Memphas Tenn Although he
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