Duke Ellington was among the twentieth century's best-known and respected African Americans whose artistic achievements brought recognition to African Americans in their struggle for full participation in America's cultural life.
Duke Ellington died of lung cancer and pneumonia on May 24, 1974, and was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx, New York City, next to other jazz celebrities.
The Duke Ellington Ballroom, located on the Northern Illinois University Campus, was dedicated in 1980.
Another unique aspect of Duke Ellington as a jazz personality was that he could perhaps best be identified not as a performer or even as a band leader, but as a composer.
Some regard Duke Ellington as the most important figure to emerge from the U.S. jazz scene in the twentieth century.
A large memorial to Duke Ellington, created by sculptor Robert Graham, was dedicated in 1997 in New York's Central Park, near Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, an intersection named Duke Ellington Circle.
Today his recordings remain among the most popular jazz of the big-band era. Born in Washington D.C. in 1899, Edward Kennedy Ellington, better known as “Duke,” began playing piano as a child. His mother, who also played the piano, oversaw his education, and by the time he was seventeen he began playing professionally.Dec 12, 2002
Duke Ellington - Role in Harlem Renaissance. As part of the Great Migration, jazz legend Duke Ellington moved from Washington D.C. to New York and played a major role in the Harlem Renaissance as the band leader of the Cotton Club.
The band started in New York City under name of the Washingtonians in 1923, they then briefly became known as Duke Ellington and his Kentucky Club Orchestra, then as Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra from 1927 to 1930.