Dr. Mildred Denby Green, Trailblazing Historian of Black Music in Memphis DiesHistorians in the News
tags: obituaries, Mildred Denby Green, black music
Dr. Mildred Denby Green died on January 8, 2019, she was a college professor, choir director, composer, music scholar. One of Memphis foremost historians of Black music, she taught at two of the city’s historically Black colleges for forty years.
The daughter of Howard C. Denby, a painting contractor, and his wife, Wanetah Benn Denby, she was born on August 25, 1938, in Portsmouth, Virginia, where she attended Truxton Elementary School and graduated from I. C. Norcom High School. She attributes her interest in music to early experiences and to studies with noted musicians such as Noah F. Ryder, Undine Moore and Altona Johns.
After two years at Oberlin, she transferred to Ohio State University, from which she received a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1959. A few months after graduation, on August 15, 1959, she married Reuben Green, an ordained minister who later became a college professor, and they had two sons, Reuben II and Howard. In 1962, she received a master’s in music education, and thirteen years later, she completed a doctorate in music education from the University of Oklahoma.
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