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comedian, was born Jodie Edwards in Marietta, Georgia. Little is known about his early life, including his exact birth date, which has been listed as both 1898 and 1895. It is believed that Edwards began performing professionally in carnivals at age twelve with the Moss Brothers Carnival doing minstrel routines.

In 1915 Edwards met Susie Hawthorne, who later became his wife, while they were both working for the Smart Set variety show, which was run by Ma Rainey and performed out of a tent. In 1916 the pair left the show and set off on their own, originally as a dance act. Soon they added comic banter in between their dances. In 1917 they left Smart Set for good and went off on their own as a musical comedy team.

In May 1917 Edwards and Hawthorne were married on stage as a publicity stunt in either ...


David Bradford

show business entrepreneur, minstrel company owner and manager, interlocutor, singer, and comedian, claimed to have been born a slave in Baltimore, Maryland. Nothing is known of his parents.

The minstrel show was, by some measures, the most popular form of public entertainment during the mid-nineteenth century. For African Americans pursuing careers in show business, there were few alternatives to blackface minstrelsy, leading to the perplexing situation of black performers perpetuating white caricatures of blacks. Some African Americans were disdainful of minstrel shows in general and especially those staged by performers of their own race (since they gave “aid and comfort to the enemy,” according to James Monroe Trotter a chronicler of black musical achievement in the 1870s Nevertheless the best black minstrel companies were enormously popular with black as well as white audiences After attending a performance of the Georgia Minstrels even the erudite ...


theatrical artist, tap and cakewalk dancer, and comedian, was born in St. Charles, Missouri (names and occupations of his parents are unknown). Johnson first appeared on stage in 1889 during an amateur performance at Brown's Theatre in Minneapolis. In St. Louis, Missouri, he joined Sam T. Jack's The Creole Show, where he met his wife and partner, Dora Dean (maiden name Babbige; 1872–1949). After the couple had learned their routines, they left the show for vaudeville bookings and were an almost immediate success; in 1893 they were married and their son, Herman, was born in 1899 (up to 1914 he traveled with his parents on the same passport). Johnson and Dean claimed to have introduced the cakewalk on Broadway (Indianapolis Freeman, 23 April 1910 p 6 Known as Johnson Dean King Queen of Colored Aristocracy the couple were one of the ...


Karen Campos McCormack

was born in Harlem New York the second daughter of Alma Barker who came to New York when she was fifteen from Barbados and Norman Miller also a native of Barbados Miller s father passed away from pneumonia before her birth and she and her elder sister Dot were brought up by her mother and aunts under difficult circumstances Her mother s spirit and resilience proved to be a mainstay throughout Miller s life She grew up in Harlem at a time when it had become a beacon of freedom for African Americans despite the widespread poverty and the music and dance of the era exercised a powerful attraction on her from an early age She lived behind the famous Savoy Ballroom on Lenox Avenue the first integrated ballroom in Harlem and an emblem for the community which would play a central role in her early career and the development ...


Jeremy Rich

in the neighborhood of Goma Tsé Tsé in the city of Brazzaville Republic of Congo His father adored the sanza thumb piano and his family regularly attended church services By the age of twelve Zoba had begun to learn indigenous dances and to sing in the church choir Zoba belonged to a series of dance companies as well that played in different neighborhoods in Brazzaville His voice earned him much recognition and he sang in the choir of the Church of the Three Martyrs However the Marxist Leninist government decided to support his decision to join a band at some point in the late 1960s or early 1970s Les Anges The Congolese government wished to showcase bands as a means of building up support at home and abroad as well as compete with the pro Western regime of Mobutu Sese Seko in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo s policy ...