LGBT People Of History Part Twenty Four Ma Rainey
Gertrude Pridgett was born on April 26th 1886 in Columbus, Georgia USA into a large family. Gertrude began performing between the ages of 12 and 14 under the name of Madame Gertrude Pridgett. She would later become Ma Rainey. Her date of birth is questionable as the 1900 census has her born in 1882.
In 1904 at the age of 18, Gertrude married Will Rainey - himself a singer, dancer and comedian. The two performed together. They toured with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels and later formed their own group called Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues.
Ma Rainey was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers and was one of the first ones to ever record songs. She was dubbed ‘The Mother of Blues’ and was active between the years of 1900 to 1933.
Ma Rainey was in trouble a lot with the police however for her lesbian behaviour. One such incident was in 1925 when she had an orgy at her home with several other women. For this scandal and behaviour Ma Rainey was arrested but fortunately her friend Bessie Smith bailed her out.
Ma Rainey’s album “Prove to Me in Blues” is very lesbian focused and gives references to women who love women.
In 1935 Ma Rainey returned home to Columbus where she ran two theatres known as “The Lyric” and “The Airdrome” until she sadly suffered a heart attack in 1939 and died.
Callum & Ian Thanks To Wikipedia and http://www.queerculturalcenter.org
Here Are Links To Our Many Other LGBT People Of History Series
- LGBT People Of History Collection
Here are the links to each of the LGBT People Of History hubs that Ian and I have wrote. As mentioned above, each time a new one is published you will find it on here.
- LGBT People Of History Part Twenty Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich is quite simply a legend. We do not say was because legends do not die! She was born in 1901 in Berlin. As a child, she was a violinist but as a she injured her hand she had to give it up. She spent a lot of the 1920s in the flouris
- LGBT People of History 21 - Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo (1905 – 1990) was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson in Sweden. She became a star of the silver screen, always beautifully lit and mysterious. She is consistently voted into the top five of movie actresses.
- LGBT People Of History Part Twenty Two Gladys Bentley
Born on August 12th 1907 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Gladys Bentley was the daughter of George L. Bentley and his wife, Mary Mote. At 16 Gladys left Philadelphia for New York where she became a part of the Harlem Renaissance,
- LGBT People of History 23 - Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith (1897 – 1937) was probably the most influential female blues singer of her generation. Her influence stretched into the second half of the twentieth century inspiring groups such as the Rolling Stones. She was nicknamed the ‘Empress of t