Soul Of America



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Founded in 1758, Pittsburgh is one of America’s oldest major cities and was during its earliest years, considered America’s western frontier city, a role later occupied by St. Louis.

Positioned at the confluence of three rivers: the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio, made Pittsburgh a natural center for water-bourn commerce and industrialist Andrew Carnegie made it known for its steel and metals industries.

Pittsburgh has transitioned from a stodgy Steel City to the forefront of medicine, education, banking and corporate headquarters.  It is internationally known for its pioneering role in medical research and technology in organ transplant surgery, diabetes, cardiology, and cardiothoracic surgery.

The business community is anchored by a number of Fortune 500 company headquarters: USX, Alcoa, HJ Heinz, Mellon Bank, PNC and Allegheny Teledyne.

The metro area population is 2.6 million with about 200,000 African Americans.

First U.S. Radio Station - KDKA

First U.S. Movie Theater - 1905

First Ferris Wheel - 1893
First Robotics Institute
More than 10 million people visit Pittsburgh annually

Thunderbolt rollercoaster at Kennywood Park was awarded first place on the National Amusement Park Historical Association’s “Top Ten Coasters in the World” list.


A number of internationally and nationally notable people were born or made their mark here, including:

Dr. Vernell Lillie
Co-founder and Director Emeritus of Kuntu Repertory Theatre

Rob Penny
Kuntu Playwright-in-Residence

August Wilson
Esteemed Broadway playwright and early contributor to Kuntu Repertory Theatre

Josh Gibson
One of the greatest home run hitters in the history of baseball; played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays

Lena Horne
Legendary jazz diva and actress

Billy Strayhorn
Without this great composer, it’s doubtful that Duke Ellington would have been as great

George Benson
One of the best Contemporary Jazz guitarists

Tony Dorsett
Heisman Trophy winner from the U. of Pittsburgh and one of the all-time great NFL running backs

Billy Eckstine
Jazz singer and bandleader

Art Blakey
Jazz pianist and bandleader; founded the Jazz Messengers

Errol Garner
Outstanding Jazz pianist

Dr. Nathan Davis
Great Jazz Saxaphonist and music instructor

Earl “Fatha” Hines
Succeeded Jelly Roll Morton as the most influential jazz pianist of the early 20th century.

Stanley Turrentine
One of the finest Jazz tenor saxophonists known for his Hard Bop style of play

Ray Brown
Grammy Award-winning bassist, played for Dizzie and Duke

Fr. Augustus Taylor, Jr.
First Black minister to head a catholic church in Pittsburgh

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