Originally, this assignment required just a list of ten, but I went the extra mile and compiled my research of twelve instead and didn't turn in until after 4:30 am the next morning. Anyway, that's getting off the blog subject.
I narrowed my selection down to just three off my list and decided to go with two lesser unknowns even though they were all born in Kansas.
1. Actress Hattie McDaniel. I selected her because, not only was she the first African-American to win an Academy Award, but also was the first to sing on the radio. Aside from her many films, she was also a songwriter and recorded her songs on Okeh and Paramount records during the mid-late 1920's.
2. Vaudeville Actor, George Walker. He was born in Lawrence, KS. George and his stage partner, Bert Williams popularized the Cakewalk dance, which caught on in high society in New York and elsewhere. First, I selected George Walker because he was straight from Vaudeville. Secondly, because he popularized a long forgotten old time dance the Cakewalk. And third, I've been fascinated with Vaudeville (in general) and bygone dance crazes for quite some time. Until I discovered this unknown Vaudeville actor, I latched onto the erroneous impression that Vernon and Irene Castle invented the "Cakewalk" dance.
3. Jazz Musician Charlie Parker from Kansas City, KS. First, I chose him because, not only was Charlie Parker a highly influential Jazz soloist, but also a founder in the development of bebop, of which is a fast-paced tempo. Secondly, he played the style of music I later gravitated to which is Jazz. Third, he combined his diverse playing style with blues, Latin and classical elements.