Manage episode 334204485 series 2885711
BlackFacts.com presents the black fact of the day for July 1st.
Roland Hayes named soloist with Boston Symphony Orchestra.
He was the first African American singer to achieve success on the classical concert stage.
Hayes was born in Curryville, Georgia, to Fanny and William Hayes, who were former slaves. He wanted an education, but he had to drop out of school to help support his family and worked at many jobs.
He moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he found a job singing at a silent movie theater. He had to sing offstage so that people could hear his voice but not see his skin color.
To earn money he went on a tour of black churches and colleges in the South. In 1917 he announced his second concert, which would be held in Boston's Symphony Hall.
In 1920 Hayes performed his first European concert in London, England. While in London he received a message from King George and Queen Mary of England, requesting that he perform for them.
He toured Europe several more times, singing in seven different languages, and by the late 1920s he had become the highest-paid tenor in the world.
After the 1930s, Hayes stopped touring in Europe because the change in politics made it
unfavorable to African Americans.
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