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Mon, 05.10.1819

Justin Holland, Classical Guitarist born

Justin Holland

The birth of Justin Holland in 1819 is celebrated on this date. He was a Black classical musician.

Born in Norfolk County, Virginia, his father, Exum Holland, was a farmer who noticed his son's talent for music at an early age. There was little opportunity for educating his talent.  But in 1833, he went to Boston, met Senor Mariano Perez, and began the study of the guitar. Another of his music teachers was Simon Knable, a Ned Kendall's Brass Band member, who taught Holland the theory and the art of arranging.  At this time, Holland also studied flute with a Scottish man named Pollock.

In 1841, he entered Oberlin College in Ohio for another two years of musical study.  After some travel involving a trip to Mexico to further his language skills, he returned to Ohio, married, and settled in Cleveland. He was perhaps the first Black man to make an important contribution to the classic guitar. "Holland's Method," published in 1876, stands as one of the finest mixtures of guitar pedagogy to appear in America in the 19th century.

Justin Holland died in 1887.

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