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Alfred Cain

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Information about Alfred Cain

Profile image of Alfred Cain

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Choral Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/5/1921
Birth Location:
Warrior, Alabama

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Choral Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/5/1921
Birth Location:
Warrior
See how Alfred Cain is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Musical director and writer Alfred Earl Cain was born October 5, 1921, in Warrior, Alabama. Cain's mother was the former Helen Hazel Moore and his father, Louis Cain, was a graduate of Tuskegee Institute. Cain attended Trinity School in Alabama and Nathan Hale Junior High School in Brooklyn, New York; he graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School in 1939, where he was a member of the school chorus, the Frederick Douglass Society, and wrote for the Hamiltonian. Drafted in 1943, Cain was stationed at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. Cain earned a B.A. degree in 1949, and an M.A. degree from Columbia University in public law and government in 1951; while at Columbia, he became president of the local chapter of the NAACP and formed an NAACP chorus, which featured Doug Pugh, Deke Johnson, and future opera great, Leontyne Price. Cain served as a social investigator for the New York City Department of Welfare from 1951 to 1959, when he decided to serve as his church’s full time musical director.

Cain worked as the musical director for Vinette Carroll’s production of Dark of the Moon in 1950, and recorded with Fred Norman’s The Normanaires Quartet in 1953, featuring Brock Peters and Theresa Merritt. Cain was also musical director for Trumpets of God and James Baldwin’s Amen Corner in 1960. Some of the talent that Cain worked with included: Cicely Tyson, Roscoe Lee Brown, Clarence Williams III, James Earl Jones, Frank Silvera, Juanita Hall, and Isabel Sanford. A talented writer, Cain worked for Educational Heritage of Yonkers as editor of The Negro Heritage Reader for Young People and The Winding Road to Freedom: A Documentary History of Negro Experiences in America, both published in 1965. Cain also served as an editor of the syndicated insert Tuesday Magazine in the 1970s and as a staff writer at Prentice-Hall Publishers.

After moving to Chicago in 1981, Cain served as communications director and speechwriter for former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris. He was an active member of Ingleside-Whitfield United Methodist Church where he served as a columnist for the United Methodist Northern Illinois Conference Reporter.

Cain passed away on December 30, 2011 at age 90.

See how Alfred Cain is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alfred Cain's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alfred Cain lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alfred Cain talks about his mother's side of the family, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alfred Cain talks about his mother's side of the family, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alfred Cain describes his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alfred Cain describes his paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alfred Cain describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alfred Cain recalls moving from Alabama to New York City with his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alfred Cain describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alfred Cain describes his family's religious affiliations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Alfred Cain describes his childhood activities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Alfred Cain recalls his transition from Athens, Alabama to Brooklyn
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alfred Cain recalls his expertise on New York City's public transit during the 1930s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alfred Cain recalls memorable teachers from his elementary and high school years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alfred Cain describes his writing experiences at Alexander Hamilton Vocational & Technical High School in Brooklyn, New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alfred Cain recalls passing the Regents Examinations in Brooklyn, New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alfred Cain describes African American figures from his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alfred Cain describes his employment after high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alfred Cain remembers being drafted by the U.S. military in 1943
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alfred Cain remembers visiting Dayton, Ohio while stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base during World War II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Alfred Cain remembers being stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alfred Cain remembers hearing Charles H. Wesley speak at a conference at Bordentown School in Bordentown, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alfred Cain remembers Orson Wells' American Negro Theater production of 'Macbeth' at New York's Lafayette Theatre
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alfred Cain describes his experiences at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alfred Cain remembers hearing Charles H. Wesley speak
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alfred Cain recalls reconnecting with his future wife at Columbia University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alfred Cain shares his impression of President Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alfred Cain recalls establishing a NAACP choir at Columbia University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alfred Cain remembers his choral experiences at New York's International House and at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alfred Cain recalls his involvement with The Normanaires and Vinnette Justine Carroll's 'Dark of the Moon' in the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alfred Cain describes becoming choir director for New York's Antioch Baptist Church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alfred Cain describes his musical direction during the 1950s and 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alfred Cain reflects upon the response to 'Dark of the Moon'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alfred Cain describes Juanita Hall's reaction to 'Dark of the Moon'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alfred Cain describes his work at New York's Department of Welfare and on the play 'Trumpets of the Lord'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alfred Cain considers Theresa Merritt's acting career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alfred Cain remembers the cast of James Baldwin's 'The Amen Corner'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alfred Cain describes his experience as choral director of New York's Antioch Baptist Church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alfred Cain remembers joining Educational Heritage, Inc. in 1963
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alfred Cain remembers running a program in 1963 for Educational Heritage, Inc.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Alfred Cain describes his editorial work on The Negro Heritage Library series, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Alfred Cain describes his editorial work on The Negro Heritage Library series, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Alfred Cain's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alfred Cain remembers hearing Carter G. Woodson and Mary McCleod Bethune speak in New York City
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alfred Cain describes the book, 'The Winding Road to Freedom: A Documentary Survey of Negro Experiences in America'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alfred Cain describes Noel N. Marder, president of Educational Heritage, Inc., pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alfred Cain describes Noel N. Marder, president of Educational Heritage, Inc., pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alfred Cain describes using Tom Feelings' comic strip in his book, 'Negro Heritage Reader for Young People'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alfred Cain remembers his interactions with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while working as an editor for the Negro Heritage Library
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Alfred Cain remembers the reception to Educational Heritage, Inc.'s The Negro Heritage Library
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Alfred Cain describes the relationship between Educational Heritage, Inc. and the ASALH
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Alfred Cain describes Tuesday magazine
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alfred Cain explains Tuesday magazine's name
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alfred Cain recalls founding Living Together, a Chicago Sun-Times supplement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alfred Cain describes his editorial work at Prentice Hall
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alfred Cain remembers works published by Prentice Hall during his tenure as senior editor
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alfred Cain reflects on the book 'Divided We Stand'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alfred Cain describes his work for Kraft Foods' publication, 'The Heritage of Cooking'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alfred Cain describes his decision to relocate to Chicago, Illinois in the early 1970s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alfred Cain remembers joining HistoryMaker Roland Burris' campaign staff
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Alfred Cain describes his experience writing for Tuesday At Home
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Alfred Cain shares his impression of HistoryMaker Roland Burris
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alfred Cain describes HistoryMaker Roland Burris' run for U.S. Senate in 1984
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Alfred Cain remembers his work for HistoryMaker Roland Burris
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Alfred Cain remembers HistoryMaker Roland Burris' reputation in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Alfred Cain reflects upon HistoryMaker Roland Burris' political career
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Alfred Cain describes his volunteer work with Ingleside-Whitfield United Methodist Church and Black Methodists for Church Renewal
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Alfred Cain describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Alfred Cain reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Alfred Cain reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Alfred Cain remembers participating in Chicago Society of Writers and Editors in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Alfred Cain describes memorable personalities from Chicago Society of Writers and Editors in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Alfred Cain recalls teaching HistoryMaker Carole Simpson's writing class at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Alfred Cain remembers the meetings of Chicago Society of Writers and Editors in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Alfred Cain talks about his family's response to his success
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Alfred Cain describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Alfred Cain narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Alfred Cain narrates his photographs, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Alfred Cain narrates his photographs, pt. 3