Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield Typically, Black Americans have reached their most noted fame through their talents in music and sports; although, we have been taught the impact of individuals like Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the history of America. Movies have been produced that reinforce our knowledge of the history of blacks: Roots gave us an in-depth look into slavery; Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored People gave us a deeper understanding of the effects of segregation; and Malcolm X showed us hate between races. But even with America’s attempts to educate its people and give light to those African-Americans who have greatly contributed to the shaping of our nation, many people are still unaware of the many accomplishments which have been credited to Black Americans.
Elizabeth Taylor- Greenfield is one of these African-American’s who has made several accomplishments that many may be unaware of. The gifted, African-American singer, whose exceptional voice made her a popular performer in Great Britain, was , Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield(1817-1876). She was probably born in 1817 as a slave in Natchez, Mississippi. As a child Elizabeth accompanied her mistress to Philadelphia. When her mistress joined the Society of Friends and freed her slaves Elizabeth chose to stay with her and took her last name.
Mrs. Greenfield encouraged Elizabeth with her musical talents. She continued to study music after the death of Mrs. Greenfield in 1845. In 1851 Elizabeth gave her first public concert in New York. She made a tour of several cities from Boston to Chicago.
A testimonial concert in Buffalo raised enough funds to finance Elizabeth’s trip to Europe for additional training. She was aided by Lord Shaftesbury and Harriet Beecher Stowe and by the Duchess of Sutherland, who became her patroness. She toured cities in the East and Midwest, then traveled to England in 1854 where her performances were praised in the London press and where she sang at Buckingham Palace. There, she sang for Queen Victoria. Not only a great singer, she taught herself how to play the guitar and the harp, and was very skilled and adept at them both.
Her 27-note range was hailed as astonishing. Greenfield’s voice–full, resonant, with remarkable range–was all the more striking for her plain appearance and the charm of her imperfect training. She was often known as the Black Swan by her fans. She gained her nickname for her moving and emotional performances during the era just before the Civil War. But despite her popularity, she was financially unable to continue her vocal studies, and in July 1854 she returned to America.
Settling in Philadelphia, she became a vocal teacher and gave occasional concerts. Black Americans have been the first to achieve certain successes that have been crucial to our current way of life as Americans. However, America often fails to give Black Americans their rightfully integrated place in American history. This corresponds to this assignment in that I had no idea who “Elizabeth Taylor-Greenfield” was before I did research. I just knew that I wouldn’t be able to find any information because I thought she was a “no-name.” But, after finding lots of research on her, I realized that there are several more African-Americans , in addition to Greenfield, that I had not been exposed to who have made several accomplishments in history. Women like Elizabeth Taylor-Greenfield are important in that they influenced people like Marian Anderson.
They will also continue to influence future successful Black Americans. Psychology.