Angela Marie Murphy
“ The First Lady of Song “
Ella Fitzgerald was born to William and Temperance Fitzgerald on April 25, 1917 in
Newport News, Virginia. Ella’s parent’s divorced when she was only a month old and her
mother moved them to Yonkers, New York to live with her mother. Her mother had another
daughter in 1923 by her second husband. To help her struggling family, Ella helped out by
working as a messenger “ running numbers “, and acted as a lookout for a brothel. Her first
love was to become a dancer. In 1932, Ella’s mother Temperance died from a heart attack,
and Ella and her sister was sent to live with her aunt. During this time, Ella began getting in
trouble with the police and her aunt sent her to a reform school. She later ran away
and lived on the streets of New York during the Great Depression.
At the age of seventeen Ella’s name was picked in the weekly drawing to perform at the
Apollo, where she was given the opportunity to compete in amateur night. On this night, she
had planned to dance until she saw her competition. Not knowing what she was going to do
after what she had seen, she decided to sing her mother’s favorite song “ Judy “ by
Connee Bowell. After winning on this night, she won the chance to perform with a band
called “ Tiny Bradshaw Band “ at the Harlem Opera House.
After being noticed with “ the Tiny Bradshaw Band “, she later recorded her first
song “ Love and Kisses “in 1936, at the age of nineteen. She was also performing at what was
known as “ The World’s Most Famous Ballroom the Savoy. “ She later went on to marry her
first husband Kornegay, who was a known drug dealer. This marriage did not last and she then
married her second...