William Christopher Handy, the world-famous "Father of the Blues," was born Nov. 16, 1873, in Florence, Alabama. Handy helped to cultivate a musical sound that proved to be what is known as the blues. Handy's most famous composition "St. Louis Blues," was published in 1914. He later created the "Yellow Dog Blues," "Joe Turner Blues" and "Beale Street Blues." In all, the composer wrote 40 songs which he personally classified as "blues."

Handy also wrote or compiled three books related to the blues - "Blues Anthology" (1926), "Treasury of the Blues" (1949) and his autobiography, "Father of the Blues" (1941).

W.C. Handy died in New York City on March 28, 1958. His hometown of Florence has honored him for the past 19 years with the week-long W.C. Handy Music Festival. The city of Memphis named a park after Handy to honor his contributions to the blues.

"I think America concedes that (true American music) has sprung from the Negro."