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Harris, Emma E. "The Mammy of Moscow"
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1937
Harris, an actress and singer, told others that she was from Kentucky, but she gave Augusta, GA as her birth place on her 1901 U.S. Passport Application. She was to return to the U.S. in two years, but Harris lived much of her life in Moscow, Russia. She left the U.S. from Brooklyn, NY, where she had been a church choir director. She left with the "Louisiana Amazon Guards [or Gods]", a six-woman theater troupe, with a seventh woman as a reserve. The group toured Germany. Harris later became a member of the "Six Creole Belles" [which may have been the same group under a different name and management]; they toured Poland and Russia before disbanding, and all but two members returned to the U.S. in 1905 because of the revolutions taking place in Russia. Harris then formed the "Emma Harris Trio," a singing group that continued performing in various European cities. Years later, the trio broke up and Harris was stuck in Siberia, where she taught English for a living before returning to performing as a concert soloist in Russia. Harris had studied voice at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. She also served as a nurse in the Ukraine during the Civil War, worked with the American Relief Association, and later was a speaker for the International Red Aid. Harris remained in Moscow with her husband and manager, Ivanovitch Mizikin. She knew Stalin and was a friend of Maxim Gorky's. She spoke fluent Russian and gave speeches against the Scottsboro Boys case when she was over 60 years old. Harris was also an excellent cook of culturally diverse meals and liked to entertain; she had many connections for getting food during the period when food was rationed in Moscow. Harris returned to the U.S. in 1933 and died in Brooklyn in 1937. For more see "The Mammy of Moscow" in The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, vol. 9: Essays on Art, Race, Politics, and World Affairs, by L. Hughes, et al.; and R. E. Lotz, "The Louisiana Troupes in Europe," The Black Perspective in Music, vol. 11, issue 2 (Autumn 1938), pp. 133-142.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Actors, Actresses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Education and Educators, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Nurses, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Augusta, Georgia / Moscow, Russia, Europe / Brooklyn, New York City, New York