AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 36 YEARS
Pain Relief Beyond Belief
In honor of the Billy Strayhorn Centennial, we his heirs along with a host of professional musicians, entertainment insiders, educators, and the general public seek a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his contribution as a great American composer, his involvement in social justice (worked with Martin Luther King Jr.) and his support of those in need. Duke Ellington received the Medal of Freedom from President Richard Nixon in 1969. In accepting the award, Ellington did so in deference to his collaborator, Billy Strayhorn. Strayhorn is famous for his lack of fame, given his accomplishments. One of the reasons his legacy has been overlooked is due to his commitment to live openly as a gay black male in the 1940's. Strayhorn's life personifies the meaning of freedom.