Sojourner Truth (1797 - November 26, 1883) was the self-given name, from 1843, of Isabella Baumfree, an African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist.
Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, New York. Her best-known speech, Ain't I a Woman?, was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.
She was one of thirteen children born to James and Elizabeth
Baumfree, who were slaves of Colonel Hardenbergh, in the town of Esopus, New York, 95 miles north of New York City.
After the colonel's death, ownership of the family slaves passed to his son, Charles Hardenbergh.
After the death of Charles Hardenbergh in 1806, Truth, known as
Belle, was sold at an auction. She was about 9 years old and was
included with a flock of sheep for $100.
Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 - April 8, 1993) was an American contralto. Music critic Alan Blyth said "Her voice was a rich, vibrant contralto of intrinsic beauty."
Anderson became an important figure in the
struggle for black artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United
States during the mid twentieth century.
In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused permission for Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall.
Their race-driven refusal placed Anderson into the spotlight of the
international community. With the aid of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Anderson performed a critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter Sunday, in 1939 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to a crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience in the millions.
Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 - June 15, 1996), also known as the "First Lady of Song" and "Lady Ella," was an American jazz vocalist. With a vocal range spanning three octaves, she was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.
She is widely considered one of the supreme interpreters of the Great American Songbook.
Over a recording career that lasted 59 years, she was the winner of 13 Grammy Awards and was awarded the National Medal of Art by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In her youth Fitzgerald wanted to be a dancer, although she loved listening to jazz recordings by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby and The Boswell Sisters. She idolized the lead singer Connee Boswell,
later saying, "My mother brought home one of her records, and I fell in
love with it....I tried so hard to sound just like her."