Give Duke Ellington The Pulitzer Prize He Was Denied In 1965

In 1965, the Pulitzer Prize in Music jury recommended famed jazz composer Duke Ellington for their annual award.
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In 1965, the Pulitzer Prize in Music jury recommended famed jazz composer Duke Ellington for their annual award. But the Pulitzer Board denied the request — preferring to give the award to no one than give it to an African American person.

Petition starter Ted argues that it is not too late to rectify this decision and name Duke Ellington as the winner of the 1965 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

In 1965, the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in Music recommended that jazz composer Duke Ellington receive the award in honor of his lifetime legacy of excellence. The Pulitzer Board denied the request, and decided to give no award in music that year rather than honor an African-American jazz composer. In the aftermath, two of the three jury members resigned in protest.

The time has come to rectify this unfortunate decision, and name Duke Ellington as the winner of the 1965 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

The recent precedent of Jim Thorpe’s reinstatement as sole winner of the 1912 Olympic gold medals, taken from him 110 years ago, makes clear that even after many decades these wrongs can still be righted.

Ellington was a deserving candidate back in 1965, and the significance of his legacy has become all the clearer with the passage of time. Giving him the 1965 prize is the right thing for Duke Ellington, the right thing for the Pulitzer, and the right thing for American music.

Sign this petition to add your name to honor Duke Ellington and to right history’s wrongs!

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