Ginger Smock, Emma Smock, National Museum of African American History & Culture, MNAAHC, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

The Woman with the Violin Ginger Smock and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene

Jazz violinist Emma “Ginger” Smock was born in Chicago in 1920. After her parents’ untimely deaths left her orphaned at age six, Smock moved to Los Angeles where she was raised by her aunt and uncle. She soon displayed precocious musical talent. Realizing their adopted daughter was a prodigy, Smock’s aunt and uncle bought her a violin and arranged for her to receive private music lessons. Within a few years, “Little” Emma Smock could be seen performing around Los Angeles as a solo violinist. At age 10 she played the Hollywood Bowl and gave her first solo recital at Los Angeles’s First AME Church the following year. As a teenager, Smock played violin in prominent musical organizations including the All-City Student Symphony and the Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic, of which she was the only African-American member.


Ginger Smock, Emma Smock, National Museum of African American History & Culture, MNAAHC, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN


The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is a Smithsonian Institution museum established in December 2003. The museum’s building, designed by David Adjaye, is on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. It has close to 37,000 objects in its collection related to such subjects as community, family, the visual and performing arts, religion, civil rights, slavery, and segregation.

Early efforts to establish a federally owned museum featuring African-American history and culture can be traced to 1915, although the modern push for such an organization did not begin until the 1970s. After years of little success, a much more serious legislative push began in 1988 that led to authorization of the museum in 2003. A site was selected in 2006. The museum opened September 24, 2016, in a ceremony led by U.S. President Barack Obama. (Wikipedia)