Ragtime and jazz pianist. With Noble Sissle he wrote Shuffle Along, one of the earliest Broadway musicals written and directed by African-Americans.
He purchased an organ that cost $75 by paying 25 cents each week.
He said, "Down South where I come from you don't go around hitting too many white keys," as an explanation for why his songs had so many sharps and flats.
He married Avis Lee in July 1910 and later Marion Gant Tyler on December 27, 1945.
He was one of the primary African-American directors of a Broadway musical, but Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American actress to win an Academy Award.