*On this date Eubie Blake was born in 1883. He was an African- American pianist and composer of ragtime music and show tunes.

From Baltimore, Maryland, Blake first exhibited his natural aptitude for the keyboard on a home pump-organ at age six. As a teenager, he played piano in cafés and brothels, and in 1899 he played his first rag, Sounds of Africa, published in 1919 as Charleston Rag.

His connecting with the lyricist and vocalist Noble Sissle in 1915 resulted in a long association between the two entertainers. They were among the first Black performers to appear onstage without minstrel makeup. (more…)