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Susan D. Toliver

actress, dancer, and singer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Lucas Premice, a furrier, and Theloumene Thomas Premice. Josephine and her older sister Adele spent summers in Haiti, in an attempt by their parents to keep them in touch with the family's roots. As a child Premice was sickly, and an affliction with rickets left her bowlegged.

Premice was educated in Brooklyn public schools. At home her parents, whose origins were in the Haitian aristocracy, schooled her and her sister in the art of being ladies. Although it may seem ironic that a black girl who attended a Brooklyn public school was educated in upper-class etiquette, Premice's schooling in the social graces paid off later when she was a part of the society circles in which she would travel the United States and abroad.

Despite her parents attempts to dissuade her Premice ...