The Transylvania Times -

The Journey Inward: Recalling The Story Of Two Unlikely Friends


May 9, 2019

Tony was a Yankee from Pennsylvania. Don was a Southerner from Florida. Tony was white and prejudiced. Don was black and refined.

Tony “Lip” Vallelonga was Italian; lived in the Bronx. His family was racist, often making derogatory comments about blacks. He made his living as a “maître d’ hotel” and a bouncer at the famed Copacabana in New York. (He was nicknamed “Lip” in his childhood, for having the ability to talk people into doing things he wanted them to.)

Dr. Donald Shirley was from Pensacola, Fla. He lived in opulent quarters at Carnegie Hall filled with paintings, g...

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