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Black History Month: “The First Lady of Song” Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996)

Release Date: February 02, 2021

Every Tuesday in the month of Feburary, we will be highlighting a different locations in Westchester that honor Black History Month. Today, we highlight the Ella Fitzgerald Statue in Yonkers; Dubbed “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996) was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. As an African American woman, she experienced not only the adulation of this country, but also some of its most hideous and persistent moral defects.

Raised in Yonkers, Ella lived and worked at a time when, for her, entrance to most white-owned clubs was through the back door. She literally conquered the bigoted, the insensitive and the racist with love through song while serving as an ambassador for both music and our country. African American artist Vinnie Bagwell created a bronze statue entitled “The First Lady of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald” in her honor in 1996. It stands next to the Metro-North train station in Yonkers.

Yonkers Metro-North Railroad Station Plaza
5 Buena Vista Avenue, Yonkers

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