June 11: Famed Jazz Pianist Hazel Scott Was Born On This Date In 1920

0 Posted by - June 11, 2022 - Birthdays, LATEST POSTS, On This Date

By Victor Trammell 

Photo credits: The Los Angeles Times

Hazel Scott (pictured) was once a well-known pianist and singer who specialized in jazz and classical music.

During the United States’ civil rights struggle in the twentieth century, Scott was a vocal opponent of racial discrimination and segregation. Scott utilized her notoriety to enhance the media’s portrayal of African-Americans.

On June 11, 1920, she was born in Trinidad & Tobago’s Port of Spain. At the age of four, Scott and her mother relocated to New York City, New York. Scott was musically a genius as a young girl. At just eight years of age, she got awarded a scholarship to enroll at the prestigious Juilliard School. Scott used to perform at the Café Society as a student attending high school. She even made a radio performance.

The stage had begun setting for Scott’s eventual ascension toward superstardom. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Scott’s rising popularity catapulted her career in entertainment. In 1950, she debuted as the first black American to anchor their own television program, which was called The Hazel Scott Show.

However, her career inside the U.S. was adversely compromised – following her testimony at a hearing held by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Scott’s sworn statement was given in 1950 – right as the draconian age of McCarthyism influenced divisive hysteria among members of the American public. Scott ultimately moved to Paris, France in 1957. She resurrected her career in show business on the European continent.

In 1967, Scott came back to the U.S. Her agenda began to switch more seriously toward activism, which was rooted in the Black American fight against racial injustice. Scott remained visible.  She allied with powerful figures who were supporters and national leaders of activism-centered organizations, such as Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

On October 2, 1981, Scott passed away in New York City where she lived as a child. She was 61 years of age.


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