Chinua Achebe was born on this day in Ogidi, Nigeria, 1930. A man of many talents and awards, this novelist and poet is also a highly respected literary critic, an ambassador, and a professor of African studies. His very first book, Things Fall Apart, is considered his masterpiece and is greatly read and treasured in both Africa and the States. Today Achebe is 81.
W. C. Handy
W. C. Handy was born on this day in Alabama, 1873. Handy made a name for himself by composing, compiling, and performing some of the very first blues performances ever held at Carnegie Hall. He also collected many pieces for musical anthologies. His autobiography, Father of the Blues, came out in 1941.