Ray Charles

by Emma from Lakewood, CO


Ray Charles was and will always be the man that broke the boundaries of racism in music. He will always be the man that saw no black nor white nor blue nor yellow when it came to country and western, rock and roll, soul, or good ol' jazz. He saw people uniting within music because music speaks its own language: the language of freedom.

Ray Charles was the son of Aretha and Baily Robinson. He was born on September 23, 1930 in Albany, Georgia. Ray Charles was born into poverty and later on at the tender age of 7 became blind. This man suffered like most have never experienced in their lives. But he yet managed to come up on top even with the death of his brother who drowned in the tub when he was 5, and the death of his mother when he was 15. Ray Charles struggled and eventually got where he wanted to be. But this all took some hard work and dedication.

Charles was enrolled into the St. Augustine School for the Deaf and Blind. At this school he learned to read, play, memorize, and even write music. This school and the help of Mr. Pitman, a friend, opened the windows of opportunity for Mr.Charles. After his mother's death, Ray Charles then was then taken in by his mother's friend, Lena May Thompson and her husband in Jacksonville, Florida. This family was like his own when he lived with them and he was thankful for their help. Ray Charles only lived with them for a year and soon, was working with some bands.

He played with bands such as Henry Washington, a small band, Brantley and Manzi Harris, and even with The Florida Playboys where he did some yodeling. Ray Charles played with many small bands in order to earn some money and a living. He played at big clubs, small clubs, and even places where there was no moving room. When Charles would play at clubs he would imitate Nat King Cole but later on discovered he had his own voice and talents seperate from that of his idol.

Ray Charles is a man with endless talent and the key to changing the minds of all races and creating a human experience like no other. This man deserves the 12 Grammy's, gold records,and the induction into every possible musical Hall of Fame --from Rock and Roll to Rhythm and Blues-- he has recieved. Ray Charles is an inspiration due to his story of "rags to riches," "triumph overcoming tragedy," "light transcending darkness." Ray Charles is a man with a mind so powerful and a heart so loving that you truly know that he was never really blind, but he saw beyond what we can see: Freedom.

Page created on 8/4/2004 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 8/4/2004 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees: - Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson - by Cynthia, from Flushing

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Author Info

"Hey everyone. I'm Emma and I'm 16 years old. As you can probably tell I love music and I love to sing. I decided to honor Ray Charles as my hero on this website because he was a musical genius who broke all the boundaries and so-called rules. He was a loveable icon and will truly be missed."