PACE, HARRY HERBERT (1884–1943), Memphis, New York City, Chicago, businessman, music publisher, founder of Black Swan Records, banker, insurance company cofounder, civic leader.
Harry Pace was born in Covington, Georgia, the son of Nancy Francis and Charles Pace, a blacksmith. An outstanding student, Pace graduated from Atlanta University as class valedictorian at the age of 19 and entered the print profession as shop manager for a black-owned printing company in Atlanta. While this work gave him valuable experience and connections that later proved useful, he eschewed the print trade for a career in law, taking a position as instructor at the Haines Institute in Augusta, ostensibly to save enough money for law school. After one year, however, W.E.B. Du Bois, his former instructor at Atlanta University, invited him to join the staff of his new Memphis-based Moon Illustrated Weekly, a black-owned and-operated newspaper. Pace agreed to become day-to-day manager, a job that put him into contact with many important black business owners in the South, even though the project lasted only eight issues and drained his life savings.
Broke and despondent, Pace accepted a teaching offer from Lincoln University in Missouri but once again left academia after one year, this time to become a partner in the Solvent Savings Bank of Memphis. After five years at Solvent, he left to join the Standard Life Insurance Company in Atlanta in 1912, the first black insurance company founded with the sole purpose of selling life insurance; but owing to differences with the owner, he resigned in 1920.
Settling in New York City, he cofounded the sheet music publishing company Pace and Handy Music with the legendary musician W. C. Handy, whom he