The First Lady of Jazz Ella Fitzgerald Sculpture in Yonkers, NY

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Place Category: Memorial & StatuePlace Tags: Places in NJ

  • Description

    A life-size bronze sculpture of the First Lady of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, depicts the famous signer standing with her arms open as if she is performing to the passerby of the Metro-North station in Yonkers.
    Ella Fitzgerald was a jazz singer for 60 years, recording 200 albums, winning 14 Grammy awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Since she was little, she loved jazz music, growing up facing many difficulties in a poor neighborhood in Yonkers, NY. Fitzgerald was 15 years old when her mother died.
    She moved to live with her aunt in Harlem, then in an orphanage, and back to Harlem. There she made her first performance and won first place at an amateur night at the Apollo theater. She was 17 years old. Over the 60 years of her career, Fitzgerald performed solo, as well as with several bands, all over the world. She was also a civil rights activist, suffering herself from racial discrimination.
    She died in 1996, survived by a son. A few months later, in October, the sculpture, created by the Yonkers-based artist, Vinnie Bagwell, was unveiled. It was her first commissioned statue, and she became the first African-American sculptress commissioned by a municipality (the City of Yonkers). Bagwell was the co-founder of Art on Main Street/Yonkers Inc and the initiator and the force behind the project The Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden. Bagwell also created the statue of Sojourner Truth in the Highland’s Walkway Over the Hudson welcome center.

    Ella Fitzgerald - A Biography Part 1

  • More Info
    Address: 14 Buena Vista Ave, Yonkers, NY
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  • Photo credit - WWP team