In Memoriam: Donald Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II, 1932-2003

Donald Byrd 518Donald Byrd, the legendary jazz musician and educator, died earlier this month in Dover, Delaware. He was 80 years old.

A native of Detroit, while in high school Byrd performed with Lionel Hampton. After playing in the U.S. Air Force Band while in the service, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Wayne State University. He later earned a master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, as well as two master’s degrees, a law degree, and an educational doctorate from Columbia University.

Throughout an illustrious career as a jazz recording artist and performer, he taught at North Carolina Central University, Delaware State University, Rutgers University, Hampton University, New York University, Cornell University, Oberlin College, and Howard University.


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  1. Celeste Cunningham says:

    What a life of accomplishments. It is persons like him who we need to acknowledge and celebrate in February and throughout the year.

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