- NAME: Mary Lou Williams
- OCCUPATION: Educator, Songwriter, Pianist
- BIRTH DATE: May 08, 1910
- DEATH DATE: May 28, 1981
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Atlanta, Georgia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Durham, North Carolina
- Maiden Name: Mary Elfrieda Scruggs
- Nickname: Little Piano Girl
- Full Name: Mary Lou Williams
- AKA: Mary Lou Burley
Best Known For
Pianist, arranger and composer Mary Lou Williams had a career that started in the 1920s and spanned decades. Her output included swing, bebop and sacred music.
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Four years later, it became the first jazz piece to be performed at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. Williams still continued to perform, including at President Jimmy Carter's White House Jazz Party. She also taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and at Duke University.
Williams was 71 when she succumbed to bladder cancer in Durham, North Carolina, on May 28, 1981. She left behind more than 350 compositions. Though she is known for being one of the first women to succeed in jazz, she had a career whose accomplishments place her in the top echelon of musicians.
Her legacy includes the Mary Lou Williams Foundation, which she established shortly before her death. The foundation helps children and young adults learn about jazz. The Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival and Duke University's Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture were also both set up in her honor.
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