Ella Fitzgerald
The Queen Of Jazz

By: Cameron Cherry

Ella Fitzgerald was a jazz singer. Ella Fitzgerald is well known for her singing and standing up for her civil rights.


Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917 in Newport News, VA. Ella's parents separated shortly after her birth. Ella grew up in Yonkers, New York. Growing up, Ella's family didn't have much money. Ella loved jazz as a kid. At the age of 17, Ella won an amateur at the Apollo Theater in Harlem with her performance of "Judy." Ella was noticed by jazz drummer Chick Webb and immediately joined his band. Ella started performing at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. Ella's first national hit in 1938 was "A-Tisket, A-Tisket," a jazz version of the nursery rhyme. After Chick Webb's death in 1939, Ella led the band for the next three years, a testament to her leadership and talent. In 1940's Ella had developed a mastery of scatting, bop, and ballad.


Once, in Dallas touring for the Philharmonic, a police squad was irritated by the principles of Ella's manager, Norman (who felt very strong about civil rights), so the police squad decided to go back stage. When the police arrived backstage they arrested everybody including Ella and two of her band members. Norman was very upset about and stood up for Ella, but he was not alone because celebrity fans including Marilyn Monroe stood up for Ella.


In 1987, Ella received the National Medal of Arts from president Ronald Reagen. Ella also received the Commander of Arts and Letters award from France and she received awards from Universities like Yale.


In 1986, doctors replaced a valve in Ella's heart and diagnosed her with diabetes. The doctors blamed Ella's diabetes for her falling eyesight. The press carried rumors saying that Ella would never be able to sing again, but she did. In the 1990's, Ella had recorded over 200 albums and in 1991, she gave her final concert at New York's renowned Carnegie Hall, it was her 26 time performing there. On June 15, 1996, Ella died in her Beverly Hills home. Hours later, remembrance appeared all over the world. After a private memorial service, she was laid to rest in the "Sanctuary of the Bells" section of the Sunset Mausoleum at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, Calif.