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John Garst

the inspiration for the “Frankie and Johnny” song, was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Her parents were Cedric Baker and his wife Margaret (maiden name unknown), and she had three brothers: Charles, Arthur, and James. Charles, who was younger than Frankie, lived with her on Targee Street in 1900. In 1899 Baker shot and killed her seventeen-year-old “mack” (pimp), Allen “Al” Britt. St. Louis pianists and singers were soon thumping and belting out what would become one of America's most famous folk ballads and popular songs, “Frankie and Johnny,” also known as “Frankie and Albert,” “Frankie Baker,” and “Frankie.”

At age sixteen or seventeen Baker fell in love with a man who, unknown to her, was living off the earnings of a prostitute (this kind of man was known as an “easy rider,” a term made famous by W. C. Handy in his ...

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Emily Landau

a madam in Storyville, the infamous red-light district of New Orleans, was born Louise Hendley in Dallas County, Alabama, near Selma. Her mother, Amanda Tipton, was an African American housekeeper, and her father, Robert Hendley, was white. Her sister Della was the mother of the jazz composer and musician Spencer Williams.

Storyville was created by city ordinance in 1897 White was Storyville s most notorious madam in part because of her brilliant self promotion as the Diamond Queen of the demi monde and the Queen of the Octoroons and also the Handsomest Octoroon in America Octoroon is an outmoded racial designation technically meaning one eighth black The term however had a particular resonance beyond this crude blood calculus dating back at least to the antebellum period when abolitionists created a literary genre themed around the tragic octoroon quadroon or mulatta The precise heritage of the girl was unimportant ...