Women You Should Know – Ella Jane Fitzgerald, (1918-1996)

Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1918 in Newport News, Virginia. Throughout her outstanding career, she became known as “The First Lady of Song.” It has been said that she began singing by accident. In 1934, Ella entered an Amateur Night competition at the Apollo. She had planned on dancing during the competition, but at the last minute, decided instead to sing. It was a good decision, as she won the competition. Subsequently, her talent was discovered and thus began a career that would include 13 Grammy awards and sales of over 40 million albums. Ella’s remarkable voice brought her an audience as diverse as her music. Her amazing talent touched many generations, beginning in the 1930s and flourishing through to her death on June 15, 1996. Ella’s final concert occurred in 1991 at Carnegie Hall, New York. The renowned venue is a fitting location for such a renowned jazz performer. Ella was the first woman to receive the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award, which is awarded to those who build bridges among races and generations. As well, she was the first woman and the first pop singer to receive the Lincoln Centre Medallion, previously awarded only to internationally famed classical musicians. In 1995, one year before her death, Ella was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Sources for Additional Information
Ella Fitzgerald [web site]. http://www.ellafitzgerald.com
National Women’s Hall of Fame. Ella Fitzgerald. http://www.greatwomen.org/women.php?action=viewone&id=2

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