Zelma Watson George

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll celebrate an opera singer who also had the president’s ear.

Zelma Watson George was born on December 8, 1903, in Hearne, Texas. Her father was a prominent African-American minister whose house guests included such notable figures as Booker T. Washington. As a young woman, Zelma Watson George moved to Chicago to study sociology and music. In 1949, she performed in Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera The Medium.

Zelma Watson George was involved in many other projects besides music. In 1954, she earned a Ph.D. in sociology and became a social worker, activist, and a university dean. She also advised President Dwight Eisenhower, served as an ambassador to the United Nations, and attended international conferences on African culture before she died in 1994.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about a songwriter whose flame burned briefly but brightly.

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