Hot from Harlem: Twelve African American Entertainers, 1890-1960

Hot from Harlem: Twelve African American Entertainers, 1890-1960

by Bill Reed




From the early days of minstrelsy to Black Broadway, this book is the story of African American entertainment as seen through the eyes of some of its most famous as well as others of its practitioners. The book moves from the beginning of African American participation in show business up through the present age. Will Marion Cook and Billy McClain are discovered in action at the very dawn of black parity in the entertainment field; six chapters later, the young Sammy Davis, Jr., breaks through the invisible ceiling that has kept those before him “in their place.” In between, the likes of Valaida Snow, Nora Holt, Billy Strayhorn, Hazel Scott, Dinah Washington, and others are found making contributions to the fight against racism both in and out of “the business.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786444670
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 12/22/2009
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 271
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Bill Reed is a journalist and writer whose articles on show business, the arts and popular music have appeared in such publications as Rolling Stone, the San Francisco Examiner and International Documentary. He is a record producer of jazz recordings for SSJ Records (Japan).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Preface 1

Part One: The Big Picture

1. The Birth of the Black Musical: Will Marion Cook 8

2. The Queens of Toby Time: The Whitman Sisters 29

3. The Color Line: Billy McClain 42

4. Over Here ... Over There: Valaida Snow 52

5. Renaissance Woman: Nora Holt 70

6. All That Jazz: Billy Strayhorn 81

7. The Movies: Hazel Scott 97

8. Forcing the Issue: Dinah Washington 115

9. On Broadway: Sammy Davis, Jr. 129

Part Two: Zeroing In

10. Full-Service Showfolk: Leonard Reed, Demas Dean, Frances Williams 150

11. Stops Along the Way: Three Cities 175

12. Some Subjects for Further Research 193

Appendix 1: A Biographical Sketch of Blind Tom Bethune (1876) 209

Appendix 2: A Selected Demas Dean Discography 217

Appendix 3: “Negro Dance,” by Nora Douglas Holt 220

Chapter Notes 225

Bibliography 245

Index 249

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