Dawson received his education at Tuskegee Institute, Horner Institute of
Fine Arts in Missouri, the M.M. from the American Conservatory of Music,
and eventually became the first trombonist of the Chicago Civic Symphony.
Dawson taught in the public schools of Topeka, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.
It was at Tuskegee (1931 - 1956) where Dawson established an excellent music
program, including an internationally recognized choir. Dawson wrote in
many forms, but he was best known for his spiritual arrangements and his
"Negro Folk Symphony" (1935) which received its world premier in 1934 by
the Philadelphia orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski.
Perkins Holly, Ellistine. Biographies of Black Composers and Songwriters;
A Supplementary Textbook. Iowa:Wm. C. Brown Publishers, 1990.