Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday 1915-1959
Jazz Singer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA

Eleanora Fagan (Billie Holiday), was born in Philadelphia, PA. She grew up in poverty in Baltimore. Billie's grandfather was one of several children of a slave and a white plantation owner. Her professional name was inspired by screen star Billie Dove.

Billie moved to New York City in the late 1920s. She started her career in Harlem jazz clubs. Soon she was performing with big band leaders like Benny Goodman and Count Basie. Nicknamed "Lady Day," Holiday became a popular musical legend and often used her tragic life as an inspiration for her music. She embarked on a successful solo career in 1940. Billie always appeared in a white gown with a white gardenia in her hair. Her voice could do things other people's voices couldn't; some said she even sang between notes. Her original works include God Bless the Child (about financial independence) and Strange Fruit (about the racial discrimination she experienced during her career).

Eventually, her voice began to show the effects of her heroin addiction, which destroyed her career. In 1959, Billie Holiday died while under arrest for possession of illegal drugs. The movie Lady Sings the Blues (1972) was based on her autobiography, which was published in 1956.



Related Resources

Web Resource
Jazz Kids
http://www.pbs.org/jazz/kids/nowthen/billie.html

Black History Month  Return to the Encyclopedia
of Prominent African Americans
.

If you need to teach it, we have it covered.

Start your free trial to gain instant access to thousands of expertly curated worksheets, activities, and lessons created by educational publishers and teachers.

Start Your Free Trial

Follow us on:

Follow TeacherVision on Facebook
Follow TeacherVision on Google Plus

Highlights

Win a HueHD Prize Pack!
We’re sending you Back to School with HueHD! Join the Maker Movement with Hue’s Animation Studio, HD Pro Document Camera, and Tablet Stand. Every week in September, one lucky teacher will win the ultimate classroom and STEAM bundle. Encourage students to create, innovate, tinker, and explore! Enter Now!

2016 Presidential Elections
Election season is here. Help your students understand the process of our national elections, from the President down to local representatives, with our election activities. Read short biographies of presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R), explore mock election ideas, create presidential trading cards, learn election vocabulary, play election bingo and more!

September Calendar of Events
September is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum! Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: U.S. Constitution Week (9/17-23), International Day of Peace (9/21), Autumn Begins (9/22), and Banned Books Week (9/25-10/1). Plus, celebrate Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Classical Music Month, Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15-10/15), Hunger Action Month, Hunger Action Month, Library Card Sign-Up Month, National Sickle Cell Month all September long!