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Beijing, Black History Month, and College: <p>Black artist history day 28: Opera singer Camilla Williams.</p> <p>Camilla Williams was born in 1919 to a laundress and a chauffeur. She was the fourth and youngest child of the family. The Williams’ were poor, the music was an important part of their lives. Camilla’s grandfather was a choir leader and she grew up singing and playing piano.</p> <p>She later trained at Virginia State College, now Virginia State University, and received her bachelor&rsquo;s in music education. She was then awarded a scholarship to study music in Philadelphia with a prestigious voice instructor, Marion Szekely Freschl.</p> <p>In 1946 Williams became the first African American to receive a regular contract with a major American opera company, making her debut with the New York City Opera in the title role in Puccini&rsquo;s Madama Butterfly. She continued to sing throughout the United States and Europe with other opera companies and in 1951 she sang Bess in the landmark, first complete recording of Gershwin&rsquo;s Porgy and Bess.</p> <p>In 1977, she became the first African American appointed as Professor of Voice at Indiana University. She was also the first African-American vocal teacher at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. </p> <p>I really hope you’ve enjoyed this series on black artists for Black history month. We’ve covered singers, dancers, actors, musicians, painters, sculptors, poets and more :D I’ve had a lot of fun researching for this project and sharing what I’ve discovered with you.</p>

Black artist history day 28: Opera singer Camilla Williams. Camilla Williams was born in 1919 to a laundress and a chauffeur. She was the f...