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James A Bland

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Name  James Bland
Role  Musician

Education  Howard University
James A. Bland James A Bland Wikiwand
Died  May 5, 1911, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Similar People  Bert Williams, Johnny Nash, Bob Marley, John Bundrick

Music director  Want So Much To Believe

In the evening by the moonlight by james a bland


James Alan Bland (October 22, 1854 – May 5, 1911), also known as Jimmy Bland, was an African-American musician and song writer.

Contents

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James a bland carry me back to old virginny piano


Biography

James A. Bland Yesterday39s Papers James A Bland 18541911

Bland was one of 8 children born in Flushing, New York, to a free family. His father was one of the first U. S. Negro college graduates (Oberlin College, 1845). Beginning with an eight-dollar banjo purchased by his father, he was performing professionally by age 14.

James A. Bland image1findagravecomphotos201028474785931286

Bland was educated in Washington, DC and graduated from Howard University in 1873. He wrote over 700 songs, including "In the Morning in the Bright Light" (1879), "In the Evening by the Moonlight" (1879), "Oh! Dem Golden Slippers" (1879) (the theme song for the long-running Philadelphia Mummers Parade), "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" (1880) and "De Golden Wedding" (1880). His best-known song is "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" (1878), which, in a slightly modified form, was the official State Song of Virginia from 1940 to 1997. It was retired and designated "state song emeritus" in the latter year, because of controversy over its racial nature.

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Often called "The World's Greatest Minstrel Man", Bland toured the United States, as well as Europe. Bland's earliest recorded minstrel performance was with the Original Black Diamonds of Boston in 1875. Beginning in 1881, he spent 20 years in London before returning to the United States. Bland toured Europe in the early 1880s with Haverly's Genuine Colored Minstrels and remained in England to perform as a singer/banjo player without blackface. Appearing as "The Prince of Negro Songwriters," he was invited to give command performances for Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales. Music historian Alec Wilder calls Bland the black writer who "broke down the barriers to white music publishers' offices." Bland was one of the most prolific minstrel composers of all time; he is reputed to have written over six hundred songs, though only about fifty were published under his name.

James A. Bland spent his later years in obscurity. He died from tuberculosis May 5, 1911, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bland was buried in an unmarked grave without a funeral at Merion Memorial Park, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

In 1939, his grave was found by American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) with the assistance of the editor of The Etude magazine, James Francis Cooke. His grave was landscaped and a monument was erected. The Lions Club of Virginia also assisted in this effort.

The Lions Clubs of Virginia sponsor a music contest for school students called the "Bland Contest" in honor of James A. Bland. The Annual Bland Music Scholarships Program was established in 1948 to assist and promote cultural and educational opportunities for the musically talented youth of Virginia.

James Bland was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. A housing project in Flushing, Queens, is named after him. A separate housing project in Alexandria, Virginia, is also named for Bland.

References

James A. Bland Wikipedia


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