William Christopher Handy, better known as 'W.C. Handy' was born Nov. 16,1873, in Florence Alabama.
Handy's musical interest started in early childhood - but because having musical talents and playing instruments were discouraged by his family and church, he kept it to himself for many years. He even secretly joined a band as a teenager.
Handy's big break came in 1896 when he joined the Mahara Minstrels as the band leader. The band toured most of the southwestern states, but also went as far as Cuba.
After taking a brief break from band life, Handy and the Mahara Minstrels moved to Memphis and started performing on the famous Beale Street. It was there Handy would create what is considered the first blues song ever published ",The Memphis Blues," which was a commercial hit. Soon after he released his next hit, "The St. Louis Blues" which would go on to become a major success.
Handy would go on to compose dozens of other songs and referred to himself as the father of blues.
In Handy's hometown of Florence ,a statue honoring the musical legend stands at Wilson Park to memorialize him.