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"Heritage: EKE," posthumous portrait of Duke Ellington, by his granddaughter, Gaye Ellington, 1985, acrylic on canvas

Duke Ellington (1899-1974)

Music Manuscript, Duke Ellington
about 1940

"Black, Brown and Beige"
This music manuscript comes from Duke Ellington's multi-movement work "Black, Brown and Beige", a chronicle of the history of African Americans in the United States. The suite debuted at Carnegie Hall on January 23, 1943, to mixed reviews. Some hailed it as a masterpiece. Others derided it as an overly ambitious and underdeveloped work. Ellington never performed "Black, Brown and Beige" in its entirety again. The first movement, "Black," portrays the forced immigration of Africans to America. Ellington concluded the movement with an uplifting section called "Light," the manuscript for which is shown here, complete with Ellington's own handwritten notations.

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, born April 29, 1899, Washington, DC; died May 24, 1974, New York, New York
Web display only

Learn more!
· Music Manuscript, "Black, Brown and Beige"
· Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington
· Duke Ellington Biography from Duke Ellington Centennial Celebration, NMAH
· The Duke Ellington Collection, an NMAH Virtual Tour
· "Tiger Rag" and "Raincheck"

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