Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

The District of Columbia occupies 7 square miles were the Anacostia and the Potomac Rivers converge.

Until the mid-1950s, the citizens of the District of Columbia had little control over their city's affairs. The district was administered by the U.S. Congress in accordance with Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

In recent years, Congress has granted the detract a limited control over the district's business affairs, under its watchful eye.

The district elects a mayor, city council and one representative to the U.S. House of Representatives with no voting rights. The district is also allotted the delegates tot the Electoral College.

The district has petitioned Congress for statehood, a request that is experiencing political resistance and constitutional issues.

The district host 177 foreign embassies and 20 million visitors a year.

Duke Ellington

One of the District of Columbia's celebrated sons is Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, American musician, composer, band leader and conductor. His professional career began in 1914 when he was 15 and ended with his death at age 75.

Ellington was born in the District of Columbia on April 29, 1899. His mother began his piano lessons when he was 7. She also saw to it that he developed a taste for gracious living and had good manners. She was so successful that the neighborhood children began referring to Eddy as “the Duke.” It stuck.

Eddy’s first job was selling peanuts at Washington Senators’ baseball games. The piano did not interest him as much as baseball until he began sneaking into places he should not have been and heard the piano played in ragtime. Ellington had a mistress: Music.

He organized a small group of musicians at age 15 and they began performing where they were able. He continued his musical education and studied commercial art. He worked painting signs, to make both ends meet, and continued performing with his group.

There were good times and bad. Then came the Cotton Club, recording 78 rpm records, touring in the status, England and a European tour before the beginning of the Second World War.

Things got slow as music tastes changed but their appearance at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival led to a world tour and they were off again.

During his career, Duke Ellington received many honors and awards: A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an honorary Ph.D. from the Berklee College of Music and a Music Legion of Honor from France.

Duke Ellington died on May 24, 1974 in New York City. In 1999 he received the Music Special Pulitzer Prize.

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