Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Duke and My Grandfather

Duke and My Grandfather

Written by: Teri Johnson



Time to read: 1 min

This is my grandfather, affectionally known as Daddy Ed. He was an educator, and he and my grandmother loved to travel and explore Europe during their summers off. 

I later learned that he was also very active in the civil rights movement. In 2013, he was honored posthumously by the state of Florida for his role in the Tallahassee Bus Boycotts.


My grandfather's legacy and his contributions towards ending segregation were part of what inspired me to start the Harlem Candle Company. 

When I launched my first four candles in 2015, I named one of them “Ellington” as a tribute to Duke Ellington and his music. And just last week, we launched our fifth perfume, "Duke".

Duke perfume

One night in 2016, while looking through black and white images of Harlem Renaissance icons online, I stumbled upon this old photograph and almost couldn't believe what I saw. 

It was an image of my grandfather pictured right next to Duke Ellington!

Duke Ellington and Teri

No one in my family knew this photo existed. When I shared it with them, we confirmed that it was in fact him. I also got to learn more about my grandfather and the jazz and music connections in my family. 

After seeing this picture, I felt a surge of confidence that I was on the right path in building a brand based on legacy, icons, and luminaries whose life and work continue to light up our lives.

Close up photo