February is African-American History Month, so this week, we look at the work of several African-American composers of classical music.
On February 9, 1825, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams to be the sixth President of the United States, after no candidate had received a majority of votes in the Electoral College.
In the early morning of February 3, 1959, singers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. The tragedy would later become known as "the day the music died."
John Williams was born on February 8, 1932. Williams is a composer whose movie themes are instantly recognizable. In his sixty-year career, Williams has received 3 Emmys, 24 Grammys, and 5 Academy Awards. He's been nominated for the Academy Award 51 times, second only to Walt Disney.
Barbara W. Tuchman was born on January 30, 1912. Tuchman was a writer of popular history whose goal was to make history accessible and entertaining to the non-historian. Her output was small, fewer than a dozen books, but her work has remained popular decades after its original publication.
Witold Lutosławski was born on January 25, 1913. Lutosławski was a Polish composer who strove for artistic integrity throughout his career, despite the restrictions imposed by the Polish and Soviet governments.
Edith Wharton was born on January 24, 1862. Wharton didn't publish her first novel until she was 40, but her stories of the New York social elite at the end of the 19th century made her one of America's most popular and respected novelists.
On January 19, 1939, Phil Everly was born. Phil and his brother, Don (born February 1, 1937), performed as the Everly Brothers; they were one of the most influential acts of early rock 'n' roll.
On January 16, 1919, five states ratified the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, taking the total number of ratifying states to 38, two more than needed to make the Amendment into law.