The late legendary musician, bandleader and composer Duke Ellington was a celebrated figure for his pivotal contributions towards the development of jazz and 20th century music. However, in his lifetime there was one prestigious honour that Ellington was unjustly overlooked for: the 1965 Pulitzer Prize.

In 1965, the music jury of the Pulitzer Board strongly recommended Ellington for that year’s prize — only to be denied by the advisory committee. As a result, no winner for the Pulitzer Prize was chosen for 1965 and the following fallout culminated in the resignation of three music jury members in protest.