Celebrating Black History Month: February 19

19 Feb

A National Treasure

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Nat King Cole. The irony with Cole is that he never intended to become a singer–he trained as a jazz pianist. It was quite by accident that he became a singer and in fact, even today is one of the best known jazz singers in the world. Because Cole never like the sound of his own voice, he took up smoking in hopes it would add a richness to his voice.  Nat King Cole was the first African American to host a television talk show. On November 5, 1956, The Nat King Cole Show debuted on NBC TV.  His show debuted almost a year after Rosa Parks was arrested and the Montgomery Bus Boycott was in full swing, thus causing a great deal of controversy over Cole’s show. Kudos to Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, and Earth Kitt for doing spots on Cole’s show for free to support their friend and to support the vision of seeing African Americans on television. King’s show lasted for only a year and could never secure a national advertiser.  Cole faced the HATE of racism throughout his life, with the Ku Klux Klan burning crosses on his front lawn in Los Angeles, to being assaulted on stage during a performance in Birmingham, Alabama.  While on stage he was attacked by a group of people calling themselves Education of Little Tree, written by Asa “Forrest” Carter, a former KKK member. Despite so much hate and racism, Cole held his head high and carried on with class. Nat King Cole is certainly Unforgettable. In fact, The Very Thought of You, fills me with hope. I thank you for your many gifts Nat King Cole.



5 Responses to “Celebrating Black History Month: February 19”

  1. rhulshofschmidt February 19, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    I’ve loved Nat King Cole since I was a little kid discovering my parents’ record collection. Here’s one of my favorites from his early, jazzier days: Orange Colored Sky.

  2. jenny68 February 19, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    A very talented yet Brave man indeed

  3. Jennifer February 19, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    One of the most amazing voices of all time.


  1. Music Posts from The Solipsistic Me « Music and Meaning: The RBHS Jukebox - April 9, 2011

    […] Nat “King” Cole […]

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