Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Where Detroit's History Endures
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Josephine Harreld Love

Josephine Harreld Love
(1914-2003)

Josephine Harreld Love was born on December 11, 1914, in Atlanta, Georgia. She is of mixed parentage, her father being black and her mother white and American Indian. Her grandfather, William Jefferson White, was one of the founders of Morehouse College, and her mother, Claudia Turner (White) Harreld, was a poet. Her father, Kemper Harreld, a concert violinist, was the first director of the Morehouse College Glee Club. Her fascination with fine arts was apparent at an early age.

Mrs. Love began a process of self-discovery and development while she was a young student at Spelman.  In addition to pursuing a major in English, she continued her study of piano and played the violin.  She was a member of the Spelman College Glee Club, the Spelman-Morehouse Chorus, and the University Players.

In 1932, Mrs. Love received the William Travers Jerome award for arrangement of the Negro Spiritual "You May Bury Me in the East."  In 1933 she won recognition for her musical setting for the Greek tragedy Antigone.

Love's artistic activities did not cease at the close of the academic year.  Her unusual interest in children and her ability to work with them were evident even before her graduation from college.  During the summer following her junior year in college, she assisted the director of a children's theater – organized and developed by Atlanta University as an experiment in creative expression. Some of the girls in the program showed unusual ability in creating original works, and fifteen melodies for nursery rhymes were produced and transcribed into musical notation by Ms. Love.  

Josephine Harreld Love's educational background is impressive: a B.A. in English from Spelman College, 1933; diploma in piano from Juilliard School of Music, 1935; and an M.A. in musicology, Radcliffe College, 1936.  While at Juilliard she attended sculpture classes.  She studied with artist Hale Woodruff for two years. She also studied piano at Mozarteum Academy, Salzburg, Austria, 1935; and piano and musicology, University of Michigan, 1960-1965.  She studied composition with Walter Piston at Harvard University and piano with Hazel Harrison in Chicago.  Her professional experience includes positions at Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina; Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan; and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

In 1939 Josephine Harreld Love made her concert debut as a piano soloist in San Diego, California.  She was the accompanist of Anne Wiggins Brown, who had been chosen by George Gershwin to play Bess in the original production of Porgy and Bess.  She toured widely for several years.

On June 18, 1941, Josephine Harreld married William Thomas Love, whom she met during a recital al Detroit's Second Baptist Church.  

Upon her return to Detroit in 1942, she established a music studio.  She taught piano and introduced African American youngsters to the arts through personally sponsored field trips to museums, plays, concerts, and other cultural events.  

She co-founded the Heritage House and Fine Arts Center for Young People, where she continued as director for many years.

For her work in arts, Josephine Harreld Love has received numerous awards and honors.  These include an award in Recognition from the Detroit Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, 1971; Great Contributions to Black America Award, Wayne County Community College, 1975; Children's Service Award, National Black child Development Institute, 1978; Virginia Kiah Honor Certificate of Service Award, National Conference of Artists, 1980; Spirit of Detroit Award, 1982; Outstanding Leadership Award and Barbara Rose Collins Community Service Award, 1983; Creative Projects Award, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, 1983; Focus and Impact Award, Oakland University, 1984; Arts Foundation of Michigan Patron Award, 1987; and Institution Builders Award, National Black Arts Festival, 1988.  She served on a number of boards and review panels, lectured widely on the arts, and published a number of articles, including biographical sketches of Hazel Harrison and Azalia Hackley.

Mrs. Love died in 2003.  She is buried in Section 4, Lot 64.