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Country Music Legend Charley Pride To Be Honoured By The Smithsonian’s National Museum Of African Am
September 27, 2012
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Charley Pride has come a long way, from his days as a poor kid picking cotton in Mississippi. At 74, he is a legend of country music, with a long list of honours.

36 number one hits, a Grammy winner, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the first African American member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Well now, Pride is receiving what might be his biggest honour yet from the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, at the Smithsonian Institute.

The museum opens in 2015 and Pride's career will be celebrated along with music legends such as James Brown, Bo Diddley, Duke Ellington, opera singer Denyce Graves, classical singer Marian Anderson and Thomas A. Dorsey, who's known as the "father of black gospel music".

There will also be a reception in his honour next Wednesday (Oct. 3rd) at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion in Dallas.


Pride is sending the Smithsonian a Fender Newporter acousitc guitar, his 1971 Country Male Vocalist of the Year Award, his 1972 Grammy and some of his vintage clothes from the '70s.

Pride, who is one of 11 children, remembers the day - when he was 9 years old - that he really started to dream about his future. He told

"I was pickin' cotton beside my dad. I look up and there was Jackie Robinson going to the major leagues. I said, 'Whoa, here's my way out of the cotton fields.'"


Pride ended up playing for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League, before getting into music in the late 60s.

As for his first big hit, he says "they sent it out to radio stations and never said anything about an ethnic or color aspect. They let the record speak for itself," Pride said.

The museum's curator of music and performing arts, Dwandalyn Reece, echoes that sentiment. "African-Americans have the right to be involved in all kinds of music."

She says African-American music is about more "genres than people instantly recognize as African-American, such as gospel and R&B."

Charley Pride was in the red chair last season, and talked about the role race has played in his career, his dreams of being a pro ball player, and his favourite Prime Minister in Canadian history.

Check out the interview below.

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