Jenkins, Edmund Thornton (1894-1926)

Seventh son of Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins, Avery and Morehouse College graduate; clarinetist and composer of ensemble and orchestral works including Charlestonia, a folk rhapsody which was first performed in London, 1919, then in Belgium, 1925; student of London’s Royal Academy of Music where he won prizes on clarinet, piano, and for voice and composition; he performed, composed and led bands in Britain, France, Belgium, Italy and Portugal; built bridges between jazz, the concert world, Paris, London and the American South; was a member of the London-based African Progress Union with Trinidadian and London-based physician, John Alcindor, Agatha Acham Chen whose husband, Eugene Chen of African and Chinese descent was the Foreign Minister of Nationalist China in the 1930s and whose daughter, Sylvia Chen was a friend of Langston Hughes; he was an associate of South Carolinian, writer and Morehouse graduate, Benjamin Brawley and composer and Hampton Institute music teacher, Robert Nathaniel Dett; was the President of The Coterie of Friends, a London-based club that organized social functions for people of color; organized music for the 1923 meeting of the Pan-African Congress of London which included W.E.B. DuBois as a delegate; led a successful dance band, the Queen’s Dance Orchestra of which several recordings were made; he passed away in a Paris hospital from tuberculosis or from complications from an appendectomy.

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