Let’s Take the A-Train to the White House

What’s happening in the White House?
Claudia Gordon is what’s happening in the White House.  The Jamaican Native came to the US when she was eleven years old, two years after she had suddenly lost her hearing.  But this did not stop Ms. Gordon.  She went to the American University Washington College of Law in 2000, the same year her mother, and biggest role model, lost a six year battle with ovarian cancer.  She was the first deaf student to graduate from the school and went on to be the first deaf, African American, woman to become an attorney.  
Now, she is still doing great things and being very successful.  She took a position in July in the White House Office of Public Engagement as the Public Engagement Adviser to the Disability Community and will be the liaison between the White House and the Disability Community.
It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing
Born in DC, Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington spent most of his life in New York City.  He is considered a pioneer and one of the greats of jazz music although he himself referred to his music as “American Music” instead of using a single and restrictive genre of Jazz.  He was conducted a jazz orchestra which was the home to many of the greats of the genre.  
When Duke started out he made his way by making posters for events and asking if they had music.  If they didn’t he offered to play for them.  He then started a band “The Duke’s Serenaders” which eventually led him out of DC to Harlem where he became a part of the Harlem Renaissance.  In September of 1923 he took on a four year engagement at the Hollywood Club which brought him and his band into the game.  In 1965 his nomination for the Pulitzer Prize was turned down but in 1999 he received a special Pulitzer Prize for “commemorating the centennial year of his birth, in recognition of his musical genius, which evoked aesthetically the principles of democracy through the medium of jazz and thus made an indelible contribution to art and culture.”
Ellington died from lung cancer and pneumonia on May 24, 1974, a month after his 75th birthday. His last words were, “Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered.”  His only son and child, Mercer continued to conduct his band until he passed in 1996.