Audio tour

Audio tourNative Roots: The Duke's Washington

Only in English

2 sights

  1. Audio tour Summary
  2. Audio tour Summary

    INTRO: Remembering Duke's D.C. @ A Glance...

    Since Washington, DC was first declared our nation’s capital in 1791, African Americans have played a prominent role in establishing the city’s civic life and cultural identity. On April 16, 1862, the U.S. Congress passed the District of Columbia Emancipation Act, making Washingtonians the first in freedom in the nation, nine months before President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863. During the Civil War (1861-1865) and Reconstruction era (1865-1877), more than 25,000 African Americans moved from rural Southern towns and settled into Washington neighborhoods such as Foggy Bottom nestled not far from Georgetown University.

    VIEW: Animated map showing territorial progression of Washington, D.C.

    It was around this time that the beautiful and very accomplished, Daisy Kennedy was born in D.C. on January 4, 1879, she was the daughter of a former American slave and several years later in 1886, her future husband, James Edward Ellington moved to D.C. with his parents from the little Southern town, Lincolnton, North Carolina.  

    On January 3, 1898, James and Daisy were married and little did they know their union would produce one of the most prolific composers, bandleaders and pianist of all-time, Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington. Duke is to Washington what Louis Armstrong is to New Orleans or what Charlie Parker is to Kansas City. The elegance and sophistication of Duke’s musical genius was shaped and molded in Washington, DC, where the musician grew up influenced by the music of the early 20th century — ragtime, gospel and classical — before he began penning his own music compositions and forming his first dance bands while still in high school. In his early professional career years, he solidified his reputation as a solid composer and band leader along Washington, D.C.’s “lively” and “colorful” historic U Street entertainment district. It was a hot-bed for African American musical talent later known as “Black Broadway.” He performed in U Street’s stately theaters, after-hours nightclubs and its plentiful social halls on Saturday nights before moving to the Big Apple with his jazz orchestra in 1923.

    In his fifty-year career, he gave American music its own sound for the first time through his famed recordings that influenced millions of people both at home and abroad, where he played over 20,000 performances in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East as well as Asia. Enjoy this mobile storytelling tour and self-directed journey, “Native Roots: The Duke’s Washington”, a rewarding African American experience and historical time capsule of early D.C. Ellingtonia for avid fans of American music and those that continue to celebrate his unparalleled talent, contributions and cultural legacy.

    Duke Soundscape: "Washington Wobble" (Public Domain)

    LISTEN: Duke Soundscape featured on this tour via archives.org

     

     

  3. 1 The Beginning: The Birth of Duke
  4. 2 Wide Enough for Duke's Ambition: Armstrong Manual Training School
  5. 3 Young Duke Residence: 420 Elm Street, NW
  6. 4 Duke & wife Edna Residence: 1355 3rd Street, NW
  7. 5 Duke @ The Howard: Theater of the People
  8. 6 Duke's Incubator: Frank Holliday's Poolroom
  9. 7 Little Harlem: D.C.'s Modernistic Lounge
  10. 8 Duke's 1st Rag: The Poodle Dog Cafe
  11. 9 Play Ball: D.C.'s Griffith Stadium
  12. 10 Duke's Residence: 2728 Sherman Ave., NW
  13. 11 Duke's Palace: Murray Casino
  14. 12 Duke Ellington's Nightclub
  1. Audio tour Summary

    INTRO: Remembering Duke's D.C. @ A Glance...

    Since Washington, DC was first declared our nation’s capital in 1791, African Americans have played a prominent role in establishing the city’s civic life and cultural identity. On April 16, 1862, the U.S. Congress passed the District of Columbia Emancipation Act, making Washingtonians the first in freedom in the nation, nine months before President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863. During the Civil War (1861-1865) and Reconstruction era (1865-1877), more than 25,000 African Americans moved from rural Southern towns and settled into Washington neighborhoods such as Foggy Bottom nestled not far from Georgetown University.

    VIEW: Animated map showing territorial progression of Washington, D.C.

    It was around this time that the beautiful and very accomplished, Daisy Kennedy was born in D.C. on January 4, 1879, she was the daughter of a former American slave and several years later in 1886, her future husband, James Edward Ellington moved to D.C. with his parents from the little Southern town, Lincolnton, North Carolina.  

    On January 3, 1898, James and Daisy were married and little did they know their union would produce one of the most prolific composers, bandleaders and pianist of all-time, Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington. Duke is to Washington what Louis Armstrong is to New Orleans or what Charlie Parker is to Kansas City. The elegance and sophistication of Duke’s musical genius was shaped and molded in Washington, DC, where the musician grew up influenced by the music of the early 20th century — ragtime, gospel and classical — before he began penning his own music compositions and forming his first dance bands while still in high school. In his early professional career years, he solidified his reputation as a solid composer and band leader along Washington, D.C.’s “lively” and “colorful” historic U Street entertainment district. It was a hot-bed for African American musical talent later known as “Black Broadway.” He performed in U Street’s stately theaters, after-hours nightclubs and its plentiful social halls on Saturday nights before moving to the Big Apple with his jazz orchestra in 1923.

    In his fifty-year career, he gave American music its own sound for the first time through his famed recordings that influenced millions of people both at home and abroad, where he played over 20,000 performances in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East as well as Asia. Enjoy this mobile storytelling tour and self-directed journey, “Native Roots: The Duke’s Washington”, a rewarding African American experience and historical time capsule of early D.C. Ellingtonia for avid fans of American music and those that continue to celebrate his unparalleled talent, contributions and cultural legacy.

    Duke Soundscape: "Washington Wobble" (Public Domain)

    LISTEN: Duke Soundscape featured on this tour via archives.org

     

     

Reviews

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  • Star B.

    5 out of 5 rating 02-05-2017

    OMG! I learned about Duke Ellington's early ties to U Street's Black Broadway and his hometown, Washington, DC on this tour. Great to know this Duke history, because all you ever hear about is his Cotton Club years. Awesome tour and superbly done!!

  • Yvonne

    5 out of 5 rating 10-03-2016

    Fantastic mobile story tour! This is a great app -- the Duke Ellington's Washington stories, locations and people featured really make you want to explore the black experience in our nation's capital beyond the Smithsonian's NMAAHC on the mall. The story is well done and the images as well as the narration are well done! Kudos to the Black Broadway on U project!

  • Valerie

    5 out of 5 rating 09-27-2016

    I took your tour this evening and discovered a lot of things that I didn't know about Duke's early years in D.C. The is great info for native Washingtonians and visitors to the city. BTW, I visited the official Duke Ellington website and there isn't much listed on their about his old D.C. stomping grounds. Great tour!!

  • Jelani

    5 out of 5 rating 09-25-2016

    Amazing #DukesWashington #storytelling tour! Until now...I had no idea that Duke Ellington was born in Washington, D.C.! WOW! Thanks Black Broadway on U, www.blackbroadwayonu.com!

  • Shell H.

    5 out of 5 rating 09-25-2016

    This remembering #DukesWashington #storytelling tour is an amazing way to discover and learn about his #DC musical roots before Harlem! #dukeellington #freedomsounds #APeoplesJourney #BlackBroadwayonU