This Day in History: Dec. 2nd declared Harry T. Burleigh Day in the City of Erie

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Dec. 2nd is now Harry T. Burleigh Day in the City of Erie.

Mayor Joe Schember and Erie City Council have recognized Dec. 2nd as Harry T. Burleigh Day. The announcement was made during the Mayor’s weekly news conference Thursday on the 155th anniversary of his birth.

According to the City of Erie Government Facebook page, Harry T. Burleigh Day will be observed on Dec. 2nd as the famous composer and soloist was born in Erie on Dec. 2nd, 1866.

Burleigh was a soloist, composer, and America’s first black concert artist. He began his career as a soloist in several Erie churches and synagogues.

In 1892, Burleigh received a scholarship to the National Conservatory of Music in New York. Two years later, Burleigh became a soloist for St. George’s Episcopal Church in New York City. He retired from that position after 52 years in 1946.

A historical marker honoring Burleigh was unveiled on Dec. 6, 2019 at Perry Square in downtown Erie.

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