From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Perry, Julia A.

(born: 1924  -  died: 1979) 

Perry was born in Lexington, KY, one of the five daughters of Dr. Abe Perry and America Lois Heath Perry. The family moved to Akron, Ohio, when Julia was a child. She was a two-time graduate of Westminster Choir College [now Westminster Choir College of Rider University]. She received two Guggenheim fellowships and a number of other awards during her career. Perry composed many works, including two one-act operas and a three-act opera-ballet, The Selfish Giant (published in 1964), for which she won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Prize. She taught in the music department at Hampton Institute [now Hampton University] and at Florida A&M, and she was a visiting lecturer at Atlanta University Center [now Clark Atlanta University]. Perry's career began to decline when she suffered her first stroke at the age of 46. She is buried in the Glendale Cemetery in Akron; the birth date on her tombstone, 1927, is incorrect. For more see "Julia Perry" in From Spirituals to Symphonies: African-American women composers and their music, by H. Walker-Hill; Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Classical Musicians, by N. Slonimsky; and Black Women in America. an historical encyclopedia, ed. by D. C. Hine.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: From spirituals to symphonies: African-American women composers and their music
NKAA Source: Baker's biographical dictionary of Twentieth-Century classical musicians
NKAA Source: Black women in America. An historical encyclopedia

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Perry, Julia A.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 30, 2021,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:26