Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield

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Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield

Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield
Typically, Black Americans have reached their most noted fame through their
talents in music and sports; although, we have been taught the impact of individuals like
Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the
history of America. Movies have been produced that reinforce our knowledge of the
history of blacks: Roots gave us an in-depth look into slavery; Once Upon a Time
When We Were Colored People gave us a deeper understanding of the effects of
segregation; and Malcolm X showed us hate between races. But even with America’s
attempts to educate its people and give light to those African-Americans who have greatly
contributed to the shaping of our nation, many people are still unaware of the many
accomplishments which have been credited to Black Americans. Elizabeth Taylor-
Greenfield is one of these African-American’s who has made several accomplishments
that many may be unaware of.
The gifted, African-American singer, whose exceptional voice made her a popular
performer in Great Britain, was , Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield(1817-1876). She was
probably born in 1817 as a slave in Natchez, Mississippi. As a child Elizabeth
accompanied her mistress to Philadelphia. When her mistress joined the Society of
Friends and freed her slaves Elizabeth chose to stay with her and took her last name. Mrs.
Greenfield encouraged Elizabeth with her musical talents. She continued to study music
after the death of Mrs. Greenfield in 1845. In 1851 Elizabeth gave her first public concert
in New York. She made a tour of several cities from Boston to Chicago. A testimonial
concert in Buffalo raised enough funds to finance Elizabeth's trip to Europe for additional
training. She was aided by Lord Shaftesbury and Harriet Beecher Stowe and by the
Duchess of Sutherland, who became her patroness. She toured cities in the East and
Midwest, then traveled to England in 1854 where her performances were praised in the
London press and where she sang at Buckingham Palace. There, she sang for Queen
Victoria.
Not only a great singer, she taught herself how to play the guitar and the harp, and
was very skilled and adept at them both. Her 27-note range was hailed as astonishing.
Greenfield's voice--full, resonant, with remarkable range--was all the more striking for
her plain appearance and the charm of her imperfect training. She was often known as
the Black Swan by her fans. She gained her nickname for her moving and emotional
performances during the era just before the Civil War. But despite her popularity, she
was financially unable to continue her vocal studies, and in July 1854 she returned to
America. Settling in Philadelphia, she became a vocal teacher and gave occasional
concerts.
Black Americans have been the first to achieve certain successes that have been
crucial to our current way of life as Americans. However, America often fails to give
Black Americans their rightfully integrated place in American history. This corresponds
to this assignment in that I had no idea who “Elizabeth Taylor-Greenfield” was before I
did research. I just knew that I wouldn’t be able to find any information because I
thought she was a “no-name.” But, after finding lots of research on her, I realized that
there are several more African-Americans , in addition to Greenfield, that I had not been
exposed to who have made several accomplishments in history. Women like Elizabeth
Taylor-Greenfield are important in that they influenced people like Marian Anderson.
They will also continue to influence future successful Black Americans.

Psychology

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