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<Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky>

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Baker, McHouston "Mickey"
Birth Year : 1925
Mickey Baker, born in Louisville, KY, spent his younger years in orphanages and learned to play music in school bands. In 1940, he ran away to New York. Baker is a guitarist who has played on hundreds of recording sessions, including those of Ray Charles and Ivory Joe Hunter. Some of his songs are Animal Farm, Baker's Dozen, Hey Little Girl, and Love is Strange. His album Wildest Guitar was released in 2003. For more see Blues Who's Who, by S. Harris; and Mickey Baker at the allmusic website. View 1962 video of Mickey Baker, "What'd I Say" at Ina.fr.

Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York

Britton, Mary E.
Birth Year : 1855
Death Year : 1925
Mary E. Britton was born in Lexington, KY. She was an activist and a journalist who wrote many articles against segregation laws. Britton was also a schoolteacher. She would later become the first African American woman physician in Lexington and a founder of the Colored Orphan Industrial Home. Britton was a graduate of Berea College. She is buried in the Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington. She was a sister of Julia B. Hooks. For more see Mary Britton at womeninky.com; and E. Applegate, "The Noble Sole of Mary E. Britton," in Berea College Magazine [online]. 

See photo image of Dr. Mary E. Britton at Great Black Kentuckians, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Medical Field, Health Care, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Casey, Albert A., Sr. "Al"
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 2005
Albert Aloysius Casey, Sr. was born in Louisville, KY, an orphan who was later adopted. He became a guitarist when a teen, then left Louisville for New York. He played with the bands of Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, and others. He also played for Billie Holiday. Among his recordings are Jumpin' With Al, Jivin' Around, and Buck Jumpin'; he eventually participated in more than 200 recordings. For more see One Thousand Great Guitarists, by H. Gregory; The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 1st ed.; and A. Bernstein, "Al Casey dies at 89; guitarist for Fats Waller," Washington Post, 09/14/2005, p. B06. 
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York

The Colored Home of the Friendless (Paducah, KY)
The home was located at 1404 Rudy Street in Paducah, KY, it was a orphanage for African American children, and is listed in the 1939 Paducah, KY, Consurvey Directory, v.2. Mary Belle Purdle Merriweather (1878-1947, born in Caldwell County, KY) was the matron of the home. She was the wife of WWI veteran Luke Merriweather (1877-1921).
Subjects: Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Colored Union Benevolent Society No.1 and No.2 (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1843
According to author Jacqui Malone, the Union Benevolent Society was formed in 1843 by free African Americans in Lexington, KY, to bury the dead, care for the sick, and give support to orphans and widows. The organization received support from whites who permitted a lodge run by slaves in 1852. The organization also secretly participated in the Underground Railroad, assisting in the escape of slaves. The organization was also referred to as the Lexington Colored People's Union Benevolent Society No 1. The Union Benevolent Society, No.2, of Colored People of Lexington, was incorporated in 1870. The organization had existed for a number of years. In 1870, the executive members were James L. Harvey, President; Jordan C. Jackson, Vice President; Henry King, Secretary; and Leonard Fish, Treasurer. For more information on the Colored Union Benevolent Society No.1 see Steppin' on the Blues: the visible rhythms of African American dance, by J. Malone. For more about Benevolent Society No. 2 see chapter 699 of Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Passed, 1869, pp.349-351 [available full view at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Fraternal Organizations, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research, Benevolent Societies
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

The Family of Jack and Sallie Foster [Blyew v. United States]
Birth Year : 1868
In Lewis County, KY, during the summer of 1868, five members of the Foster family were attacked by John Blyew and George Kennard, who used a carpenter's ax and some other bladed tool to hack at the bodies of the family members. Jack, his wife Sallie, and his grandmother Lucy Armstrong, who was blind, were killed outright. Richard, the Foster's 16 year old son, took shelter under his father's body. He later regained consciousness and crawled 300 yards to a neighbor's house for help. Richard died two days later. The two youngest children were the only survivors: Laura Foster, 8 years old, hid and was unharmed, while her 6 year old sister, Amelia, was hacked about the head but lived. A posse was formed and Blyew and Kennard were arrested and indicted on four counts of murder. The court hearings began October 26, 1868, with the following evidence presented: Richard Foster's dying statements, Laura Foster's written testimony [it was illegal in Kentucky for African Americans to give testimony against whites during criminal proceedings], and the testimony of those who investigated the crimes. One of the reasons given for the murders was retaliation for the Civil War and the potential for another war about African Americans. The trial was held in U.S. Court for the District of Kentucky before Judge Bland Ballard. The prosecuting attorney was Benjamin H. Bristow, who would later become the first U.S. Solicitor General and serve as Secretary of the Treasury in the Grant Administration before becoming a Republican presidential nominee in 1876. Two years prior to the Foster family murders, Congress had passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which gave jurisdiction to federal courts for all causes, civil and criminal, affecting persons who are denied or cannot enforce any of the rights secured to them in the courts or judicial tribunals of the state or locality, where they may be. The understanding of the provisions of the act was the reason Blyew and Kennard were tried in a federal court. Their case was presented to an all-white jury [it was still illegal to have African American jurors in such cases in Kentucky]. None of the jury members were from Lewis County. Blyew and Kennard were found guilty and sentenced to hang. The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court as a Writ of Error. Blyew v United States was one of the first cases for the full court to analyze the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Kentucky Governor J. W. Stevenson called for a special legislative session, and funds were appropriated for use in the Blyew v United States case to hire the distinguished lawyer, Judge Jeremiah S. Black, to represent Kentucky's sovereign rights as a challenge to the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. It was determined by the governor and many of the Kentucky legislators that the 1866 Act exceeded the authority of Congress and was an unconstitutional intrusion of authority. The U.S. Supreme Court deliberated for more than a year before rendering a judgment on April 1, 1872, that reversed the convictions of Blyew and Kennard with a 5-2 majority. Prior to the decision, the Negro testimony law in Kentucky was repealed, and Blyew and Kennard were indicted and to be tried in the Lewis County Circuit Court in 1873. In Blyew's case, there was a hung jury, and the case was then to be prosecuted in federal court. But before the retrial could take place, Blyew escaped. In George Kennard's case, he was convicted and sentenced to hard labor for his natural life. He was pardoned by Governor Blackburn in 1885 due to his health. Kennard died of senility on April 5, 1923 in Carter County, KY, according to his death certificate. John Blyew was recaptured in 1890, and the Lewis County Circuit Court convicted and sentenced him to life in prison. Governor W. J. Worthington pardoned Blyew in 1896, and Blyew, his wife Emma, and granddaughter Mary, were residing in Cincinnati, OH in 1900, according to the U.S. Federal Census. The surviving Foster sisters, Laura and Amelia, were taken in by a white family named Ruggles. It has been written that Laura, who was born around 1860, died of measles after living with the Ruggles for a few years, but according the U. S. Census, she was with the Ruggles' family as a servant up to 1880. Amelia (1862-1936), who was described as having horrendous scars on her head, was single and remained in Lewis County doing housework up until 1934 when she became ill, according to her death certificate. For more see Blyew v. United States, 80 U.S. 13 Wall. 581 (1871) [full-text at Justia.com]; R. D. Goldstein, "Blyew: variations on a jurisdictional theme," Stanford Law Review, vol. 41, issue 3 (Feb. 1989), pp. 469-566; and Race, Law, and American Society, by G. J. Browne-Marshall.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Court Cases, Blind, Visually Impaired
Geographic Region: Lewis County, Kentucky

Fisher, Mary Ann
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2004
Born in Henderson, KY, Fisher was a rhythm and blues singer whose career began in Louisville, KY. She toured with Ray Charles, with whom she had a relationship, and also toured with others before becoming a solo act and later returning to Louisville. Her first album Song Bird of the South was released in 2004. She can also be heard on the albums Early Girls, v.4, What'd I Say, and Talk'n 'Bout You. She can also be seen performing on the KET Mixed Media Programs 523, 541, and 813 [available online]. During her childhood, Fisher and some of her eight siblings were placed in the Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children in Louisville. Fisher was adopted after her first year at the orphanage. The orphanage was also home to Jonah Jones, Dicky Wells, and Helen Humes. For more see "Fisher, Louisville's 'queen of blues,' dies," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 03/13/04, News section, p.01B. View image and listen to Mary Ann Fisher - Put On My Shoes on YouTube.

Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Gibson, William H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1829
Death Year : 1906
Gibson, the son of Amelia and Philip Gibson, was born free in Baltimore, MD, and moved to Louisville, KY, in 1847. He was a schoolteacher who helped found the United Brothers of Friendship and the Colored Orphan's Home. He was also president of the Colored Musical Association. Gibson wrote History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, published in 1897; the book contains a career sketch of Gibson. For eight months, Gibson served as an appointed mail agent under the administration of President Grant. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and L. M. Gibson, "William Henry Gibson," Negro History Bulletin, vol. 11, issue 9 (June 1948), p. 199.
See photo image of William H. Gibson, Sr. on p. 102 in The Sons of Allen by H. Talbert.
Subjects: Authors, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Postal Service, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Baltimore, Maryland / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Grace, Leonard [and Ridgewood at Louisville and Jefferson County Children's Home]
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 1941
The name Leonard Grace would probably have never been mentioned in the newspapers had he not died at a young age during a boxing match that resulted in his opponent being charged with manslaughter. In Kentucky, it was one of the first times that a boxer received the charge of manslaughter for an opponent's death in the boxing ring. Leonard Grace was a lightweight boxer between the ages of 19-25; his exact age is unknown because Leonard Grace had been a ward of the state and his age changed based on who was answering the question. It was not too long after his eighteenth birthday, and a very brief professional boxing career, that Leonard Grace died on November 3, 1941 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registrar's No.4804, the last name is misspelled "Gracen"]. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Louisville, KY. His death was due to a subdural hemorrhage pulmonary edema, the result of injuries received during a bout with lightweight boxer Tommy Parker [BoxRec] from Lexington, KY. Leonard Grace went down in the ring at Columbia Gymnasium, his managers could not revive him, and he was pronounced dead on arrival at the City Hospital in Louisville, KY. Tommy Parker was initially charged with manslaughter, but Leonard Grace's death was ruled an accident by a coroner's jury. According to Leonard Grace's incomplete boxing record at the BoxRec website, he had had very few fights, one of which he lost to Johnny Allen [BoxRec] in November of 1938, the fight was scored a KO (knockout). That fight had also taken place at the Columbia Gymnasium in Louisville, KY. Little is known about Leonard Grace's personal life. He is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census as a 14 year old ward of the Louisville and Jefferson County Children's Home. It is noted that he and his parents were born in Kentucky. The Louisville and Jefferson County Children's Home was a residential institution for dependent and delinquent children [source: "Ormsby Village-Ridgewood" by D. Morgan in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, editor J. E. Kleber, pp.678-679]. Children were placed in the home due to "neglect, ill treatment, delinquency, and undesirable home conditions," they became wards of the state [source: The WPA Guide to Kentucky by the Federal Writers' Project of the Work Projects Administration for the State of Kentucky, pp.349-350]. While at the home, Leonard Grace was a resident in the Ridgewood facility that housed the colored children; the building was located in Lyndon on LaGrange Road. In 1930, Lee B. Jett, Sr. was the superintendent of the home's colored facility, and he supervised 2 teachers, 2 employees, 3 matrons, maid Harriett Benny, and chef Fanny Arnold, all of whom cared for 105 wards and the superintendent's 2 children [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. It is not known how long Leonard Grace was a ward of the Louisville and Jefferson County Children's Home. His parents' names are not known at this time. In 1930, there were 7 other African Americans in Louisville with the last name Grace, and they may or may not have been related. Havng been placed in the Children's Home, it was probably there that Leonard Grace was introduced to boxing, a sport for boys in many orphanages and homes for cildren. In 1940, Leonard Grace lived with John Gordon and Reachel Young, both from Tennessee [source: U.S. Federal Census]; all three lived on Magazine Street in Louisville. John Gordon worked with the WPA building streets. The following year, Leonard Grace died. On Leonard Grace's death certificate, John Gordon was the informant and he wrote "unknown" in the space for parents. In 1941, as written on the death certificate, John Gordon and Leonard Grace both lived at 1415 S. Third Street in Louisville. In 1939, Leonard Grace had been employed as a porter for the Taystee Bread Co. located at 1222 W. Liberty Street [source: p.668 in Caron's Louisville (Kentucky) City Directory 1939]. At the time of his death, Leonard Grace was said to be 20 years old on his death certificate; 21 years old according to the newspaper article announcing his death; 25 years old according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census; and 19 years old according to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. For the announcement of Leonard Grace's death, see the last paragraph in the column "It Happened in Kentucky," Kentucky New Era, 11/04/1941, p.4; and the coroner's ruling in "Hit him too hard," Kentucky New Era, 11/18/1941, p.4. For a broader history of boxers who died in the ring, and additional sources, see "Boxing-related deaths" within chapter 2-Data Analysis in the title The Regulation of Boxing by R. G. Rogriguez.  
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Hatcher, Emma
Hatcher came to Kentucky from Sonora, Mexico, as a young child. She had been known as Ogarita Honrodez, but her name was changed sometime after she was orphaned and raised by an African American woman in Louisville, KY. In 1887, as a teenager, she made her stage debut as a reader. Hatcher went on to appear in a number of plays, including her own play, Lizette. An article in the New York Age newspaper predicted that she would go far in her acting career, but her name soon disappeared from the records. For more see A History of African American Theatre, by E. Hill.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Jackson, Eliza or Isabelle (Belle) Mitchell
Birth Year : 1848
Death Year : 1942
Mitchell was born in Perryville, KY and raised in Danville, KY. Her parents, Mary and Monroe Mitchell, purchased their freedom. Belle became an abolitionist and the first African American teacher at Camp Nelson, with John G. Fee. She became a prominent teacher in Fayette County and one of the founders of the African American Orphan Industrial Home. She was actively involved with the Colored women's club movement. She was married to Jordan Jackson. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; African American Women: a biographical dictionary, by D. C. Salem; and Lexington's Colored Orphan Industrial Home by L. F. Byars.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Freedom, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Perryville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Fayette County, Kentucky

Jones, Robert E. "Jonah"
Birth Year : 1908
Death Year : 2000
Robert Elliot Jones was born in Louisville, KY, and raised in an orphanage. A jazz trumpeter, he played with the Cab Calloway Orchestra for 11 years, then went on to appear on television, make several albums, and win a Grammy Award in 1959 for Best Jazz Performance by a group. He was one of the all-time best trumpeters. Jones is also remembered for the spit ball incident that got Dizzy Gillespie fired. One day during practice, Jones threw a spit ball. Cab Calloway accused Dizzy Gillespie of the deed and slapped Gillespie. A scuffle ensued. When the two were pried apart, Calloway's pants were cut up and he had razor cuts on his hip and thigh. Gillespie was fired. Jonah Jones and the other orchestra members kept quiet. For more on Jonah Jones see Who's Who of Jazz, by J. Chilton; and Talking Jazz, by M. Jones. For more on the spit ball incident see Dizzy Gillespie, by T. Gentry, pp. 69-71. View image and listen to Jonah Jones Quartet: Night Train on YouTube.

Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Television, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1908
End Year : 1937
Charles Henry Parrish, Sr. was the founder of the Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children, and in 1909, Mr. O. Singleton was the superintendent. After a few months, Singleton was replaced by Parrish. In 1910 the Kentucky General Assembly passed an act for the benefit of the organization: "...the sum of five thousand dollars per annum payable annually, for the benefit of the Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children...." The sum was raised to $10,000 per year in 1912 and $15,000 in 1920. The home was located at 825 S. Sixth Street in Louisville. Some of the children, described as "defective" and "hard to place," were housed in the buildings at the former Eckstein Norton school in Cane Springs, KY. The Sixth Street location was managed by Bessie Allen at some point when blues singer Mary Ann Fisher was one of the children at the orphanage. The care of the children and the condition of the facilities were always in question. In 1937, the state funding was withdrawn, and the Home Society was reorganized with the children being removed and placed in boarding homes under a state-employed supervisor. A newly created section for colored children was developed in the Division of Child Welfare of the State Department of Welfare. In 1938 a consultant from the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor was loaned to the Kentucky Division of Child Welfare to conduct a study of resources for the care of Colored children, followed by a conference of representative Negro citizens held in Louisville to discuss the results. For more see Acts Passed at the ... Session of the General Assembly, Chapter 34, Published 1910, J. Bradford, printer to the Commonwealth [available full view at Google Book Search]; Child Welfare Services Under the Social Security Act [.pdf] by the U.S. Department of Labor, Children's Bureau, Title 5, part 3, Development of Prograrm 1936-38, Bureau Publication No.257 [available online]; Other sources...Box 12 Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children 1936-38 at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives; and Chapter V, "Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children" in Child Welfare Work in Louisville, by W. H. Slingerland [available full view at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Lexington's Colored Orphan Industrial Home
Start Year : 1892
End Year : 1988
The Colored Orphan Home was incorporated with E. Belle Mitchell Jackson as president; Emma O.Warfield, vice president; Ida W. Bate [wife of John W. Bate] secretary, Priscilla Lacey, treasurer, and 11 other women members of the Ladies Orphans Home Society. Captain Robert H. Fitzhugh, who was white, was a professional philanthropist for the home. Support came from bequests, fund raising, and donations. The home was located on Georgetown Pike [Georgetown Street] in Lexington, KY. The board members served as matrons of the home and donated food and supplies. The home took in orphaned and abandoned children, a few elderly women, and half orphans (children with one parent). The parent of a half orphan was charged for the child's board at the home. Board members determined when a child would be returned to its parents, and there were a few adoptions and foster care placements, but the goal was to educate the children and teach them an industrial trade in preparation for adulthood. In addition to classwork, house chores, and gardening, the children were taught kitchen duties, cooking, carpentry, chair-caning, laundry, sewing - the children made all of the clothes and linen at the home, and did shoe-making and repairs - shoes were made for the children and also sold to the community. The home continued in operation until 1988 when it became the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center. For more see Lexington's Colored Orphan Industrial Home: building for the future, by L. F. Byars. See also Colored Orphan Industrial Home Records, 1892-1979 at the University of Kentucky Libraries.

    See the photo images of the Colored Orphan's & Industrial Home at the Kentucky Digital Library - Images.
Subjects: Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Louisville's Colored Orphans' Home
Start Year : 1877
End Year : 1908
Prior to the formation of the Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children, African American churches established and supported another orphanage in Louisville, KY. Louisville's Colored Orphan's Home was located at the Taylor Barracks on Third and Oak Streets. The home was moved to Eighteenth and Dumesnil Streets in 1878, continuing operations solely with the support of the African American community until 1908. For more see "Colored Orphans' Home" in The Encyclopedia of Louisville. See also the entry Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children.

See photo image of children and Colored Orphan's Home from Weeden's History of the Colored people of Louisville, at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Robert H. Williams Children's Home and Cultural Center
Start Year : 1980
The name Robert H. Williams is probably best known in connection with the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center at 644 Georgetown Street in Lexington, KY. The building was formerly the Lexington Colored Orphan Industrial Home from 1892-1980. Robert H. Williams, a farmer, was a trustee of the orphan home, and he left the bulk of his estate to the home. In 1980, the name of the home was changed to the Robert H. Williams Children's Home, and in 1988, when there were no longer any children at the home, the name was changed to the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center. For more see "Williams Cultural Center plans open house today," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/09/1990, p. B3; and "Kids wanted: home offers to provide care for children of single parents," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/18/1984, pp. B1 and B2.

See photo image of the historical marker in front of the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center, at the Tom Eblen blog stie.
Subjects: Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Sublett, John W.
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1986
Born in Louisville, KY, and also known as John Bubbles, Sublett was a singer and tap dancer who teamed up with Ford Lee Washington; they were known as Buck and Bubbles. Rather than tap-dancing on his toes, Sublett tap-danced by bringing his heels to the floor like a drummer; he also used a number of other techniques. Sublett also played the piano in some of their performances. For more see Who's Who in Hollywood. The largest cast of international film personalities ever assembled, by D. Ragan; and Blacks in Black & White. A source book on Black films by H. T. Sampson. View Buck & Bubbles sing "The Rhythm's OK in Harlem" - 1937 on YouTube.

Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Tisdale, Clarence
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1945
Born in Louisville, KY, Tisdale toured with the McAdoo Jubilee Singers in Australia and New Zealand. The group also sang in England and France before returning to the U.S. in 1910. In 1914 Tisdale was a member of the Right Quintette; the group had four recordings in 1915. Tisdale also recorded by himself. He was living in New York in 1920, rooming with playwright Jessie Shipp and his son Jessie Jr., according to the U.S. Federal Census, the three lived on W. 131st Street. [Jessie Shipp, Sr.'s mother, Ellen Shipp, was a Kentucky native.] Tisdale was still living in New York in 1930, he formed his own trio in the 1940s just prior to his death. Tisdale was the son of Carrie Tisdale, who was matron of the Colored orphan home in 1900, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Clarence was a printer at the home, which was located on 18th Street in Louisville. For more see Lost Sounds: blacks and the birth of the recording industry, 1890-1919, by T. Brooks.
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Australia / New Zealand / England, Europe / France, Europe / New York

Washington, Ford Lee "Buck"
Birth Year : 1903
Death Year : 1955
Born in Louisville, KY, Washington was a pianist, vaudeville dancer, and occasional singer. As a teen, he teamed with dancer John W. Sublett (both were orphans). Known as "Buck and Bubbles," they broke the color barrier by performing in the white vaudeville circuit. In 1922 the team performed at the New York Palace Theatre, the top venue for vaudeville performers. Washington performed in movies and recorded with Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Coleman Hawkins; he also recorded duets with Sublett. He performed for a short time with Jonah Jones. For more see Buck Washington, dancer extraordinaire! and The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed., ed. by B. Kernfeld. View Buck and Bubbles... Variety Show (1937) on YouTube.

Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York

 

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