Hazel Scott “What America Means To Me”

Hazel Scott and Family

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.; Adam Clayton Powell III; and Hazel Scott

Hazel Scott was a musical genius who began studying at The Juilliard School at the age of eight. In 1945, the year she married Harlem congressman Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., she was earning $75,000 a year which would be worth over $980,000 in 2014. She was the first African-American woman to host a network television show. In 1951, over Philadelphia station WFIL, Hazel Scott gave a short speech entitled “What American Means To Me.” Here are some excerpts:

I’m an American by choice.

Jim Crow doesn’t belong anywhere in this country of ours.

American is as big and as strong as its weakest point.

We cannot advocate for people in other lands, what we don’t have here.

American is great because we are allowed to speak our minds and to say exactly what we think.

Bigots don’t belong in this country. It’s too great for them.

I have a son… I want him to grow up someday to find that this country of ours which has improved so much in the last hundred years will be improving all the more all the time. Someday I hope that he will see, even if I don’t live to see it, all racial prejudices eliminated.

I love America… I would live nowhere else.


Hazel Scott and Lena Horne

“She was queen uptown; I was queen downtown. We always got a crush on the same men.”-Lena Horne

Hazel Scott and Duke Ellington

“I like the way Hazel has stayed on top with her talent and with her
brains. I like the forthright way she fought for causes of her people.”-Duke Ellington

Hazel Scott and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

“My life with Hazel…would excite the Average American Husband.”-Adam Clayton Powell Jr

Adam Clayton Powell III

“You had someone who had, had her own network radio program. From the early 40’s on you had someone who was I believe the first black headliner of a weekly network television program.”-Adam Clayton Powell III

Hazel Scott on Ebony cover

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