If the name Eleanora Fagan does not ring a bell, perhaps you are more familiar with her stage name, Billie Holiday, who came to our Earth on April 7, 1915 and made one of the most indelible marks on jazz as anyone who has ever sung any standard.
Holiday didn’t just work with the giants, she was a giant: despite a famously small voice with limited range, her extraordinary gifts of styling and improvisation have made her an icon of music for all time. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Tragically, her voice and life were cut short due to a lifetime...
Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 is known to us today as Maya Angelou, a great poet, autobiographer, memoirist, and civil rights activist, singer, and dancer—an American Renaissance woman who overcame a devastatingly difficult childhood to become a literary and cultural hero to so many. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Angelou’s vast and influential oeuvre began with the unflinching 1969 memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and her genre-redefining, honest prose and gripping poetry, along with her social activism and gusto for life made her a venerated figure across the globe. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Two remarkable other firsts: Angelou became the first black cable car...
March 31 is international Trans Day of Remembrance.
Sylvia Ray Rivera (July 2, 1951 – February 19, 2002) was a Latina gay and transgender rights activist. Orphaned in New York City at age three, she was shunned by her grandparents for her effeminate ways (as the young boy named Ray) and found herself out on the streets at age 11, forced to work as a child prostitute, and "adopted" by the drag queens.
Over the course of her life, she became one of the leading activists for trans rights in New York in the...