“It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.”
Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) was one of the most popular American jazz singers for more than half a century, earning the titles “First Lady of Song” and “Queen of Jazz.” During her six-decade career, she won 14 Grammies and selling more than 40 million albums. Fitzgerald came from very humble beginnings — her father was a ditch digger and part-time driver, her mother worked at a laundromat. She was orphaned at the age of 15 and ended up at a reformatory due to truancy and brushes with the police. She escaped and faced the Great Depression, alone and broke. But she found refuge in her music and her incredible voice. She made her debut on amateur night at the famous Apollo Theater in New York City when she was 17.
“No matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, you can make it. That’s an essential promise of America. Where you start should not determine where you end up.”
From “Remarks by the President at College Opportunity Summit” delivered by Barack Obama (born 1961) on December 4, 2014.
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