Dizzy Gillespie Birthplace Park

337 Huger ST

Cheraw, SC 29520

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Phone: (843) 537-8425

City: Cheraw

Region: Midlands

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Dizzy Gillespie Birthplace Park

This park marks the site of jazz great Dizzy Gillespie's birthplace in Cheraw. The park includes a historical marker on his life and features sculpture and park benches that symbolize his life. The park is open from dawn to dusk. There is also a statue of Gillespie on the Cheraw Town Green on Market Street. Born here in 1917 as John Birks Gillespie, Dizzy attended public schools, graduating from Robert Smalls in 1933. His family attended the Wesley United Methodist Church (c. 1915) on Green Street and as a child, he was employed to keep kids from sneaking into the c. 1920 Lyric Theater, a skill he'd become quite adept at. (Now the Theater on the Green, the restored facility is used for performances. ) His musical talents earned him a scholarship to the Laurinberg Institute in North Carolina. In 1990, Gillespie received the National Medal of the Arts (the highest award bestowed upon an American artist) and was honored by the Kennedy Center for his contributions to the performing arts. A guide to the sites connected to his life is available at the Cheraw Chamber of Commerce. Dizzy died in 1993.

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