The Black Swan - Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield
Elizabeth Taylor-Greenfield 1817 - 1876
The Black Swan
The Black Swan, this was the name to Elizabeth Taylor-Greenfield by her numerous fans. An original musical diva who could effortlessly reach twenty-seven different musical notes.
In 1854 Ms.Taylor-Greenfield's career peaked when she performed before Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace in England, afterward the singer's popularity soared in Great Britain.
Born in Slavery
In 1819 Elizabeth Taylor was born in Natchez, Mississippi such humble beginnings left little reason to dream of any other life than what was there. Due to circumstances and Elizabeth's own tenacity she would enjoy fame and recognition here at home and abroad.
As a child Elizabeth was taken to Philadelphia by a Quaker who freed her slaves. Ms. Taylor continued to serve her former Mistress, who was her namesake, as maid and companion. She added the Mistress' last name to hers, hence her plain and comely appearance due to being raised by her Quaker owners.
Elizabeth also provided the entertainment for her elderly mistress, and upon her death Greenfield supported herself by giving public and private performances. Soon Greenfield gained fame and recognition in the Northeast for her performances and was dubbed "The Black Swan" by her many fans.
Black Divas - Book Written in 1900
Black Swan Record Label
A Career Ended to Soon
In 1853 Elizabeth Taylor Green-Field traveled to Europe for engagements in England, Scotland and Ireland, Unfortunately, her unscrupulous manager abandoned her and stole all the proceeds from her London appearance. Penniless Greenfield sought out a fellow countrywoman who was also traveling in England, Harriet Beecher Stowe. With Stowe's assistance Elizabeth was performing in front of English gentry. Afterward she was invited to Buckingham palace to sing for Queen Victoria.
Even with this popularity after her return to the states Elizabeth ran out of money and became a singing teacher to support herself. She sometimes traveled throughout the country raising funds for "colored' orphan and aged societies. After the civil war Elizabeth appeared alongside Frederick Douglass and Frances E.W. Harper at various social functions.
Two years after her death Philadelphia on March 31, 1876, Pace Phonograph Corporation founded by Harry Pace and W.C. Handy, changed the name of their company to "Black Swan Records", in her honor.
Information on the diva is hard to find. I've noted some papers and newspaper articles in this hub, but its sad, had she been born in another time and another place her fame would have been legendary. The original "Diva"
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