From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

My Friend from Kentucky (Darktown Follies)

The Darktown Follies in "My Friend from Kentucky" was a three-act comedy produced and initially staged in Harlem by J. Leubrie Hill. The production had been previously called "My Friend from Dixie";  it would go through a series of title and content changes before finally becoming known as Darktown Follies.

The show is remembered for the dancing that was  unlike anything that had been witnessed on Broadway; it had great drawing power that brought whites into Harlem at night. The production would eventually be moved downtown and performed for white audiences.

One of the main characters is Bill Simmons, a businessman from Kentucky, who convinces character Jim Jackson Lee that for a fee he can leave his wife and her father's Virginia plantation (an African American-owned plantation) for a better life and a new wife in Washington, D.C.

For more see "The Darktown Follies" in A Century of Musicals in Black and White, by B. L. Peterson; and Steppin' On the Blues, by J. Malone.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“My Friend from Kentucky (Darktown Follies),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-01-25 18:55:34