Running head: BILLIE HOLIDAY
Billie Holiday and Racial Discrimination
Billie Holiday was an African American jazz musician who was born on 7 April 1915
(Golio, 2017). She was born as Eleanor Harris; then she adopted the name Billie Holiday as her
stage name, she was born to two teenage parents, Clarence Harris and Sadie Fagan. Her parents
have never got married, and her childhood was very troubled. The lack of a stable family
background caused harm to Billie’s emotional state as she struggled to find her way up as a black
American girl who had dreams of venturing into music and making a name for herself (Golio,
2017). Her father was a very successful jazz musician who got to play with artists such as
Fletcher Henderson, and he made a name for himself in the music industry. Her mother did not
meet the same fate, however, as she ended up living with her sister and her sister’s husband and
their two children. Life was never easy for Billie’s mother, and neither was it for Billie too.
The Race Equation in the Life of Billie Holiday
In the early 1900s, being raised in a broken family was not the only problem that young
and dreamy girls such as Billie had to worry about. She was a young black girl living in
America, a country that, at the time, had zero tolerance for African Americans (Williamson,
2015). African Americans were at the time considered slaves and were denied rights and
freedoms. They were expected to serve their white masters, and they were not allowed to have
dreams beyond being a slave of the white master. On many occasions, Billie's Holiday was
discriminated against for being a black woman who dared to dream beyond slavery and for
wanting to make a better life for herself (Williamson, 2015). The most outstanding times that she
was discriminated against were during her musical career as she forged to be...
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