Bert Williams: a biography of the pioneer Black comedian
In the early 20th century, black musical shows, operettas, and revues were among Americas most popular forms of entertainment. The foremost of the eras African-American entertainers was pantomime artist and comedian Bert Williams. With partner George Nash Walker, Williams starred in the first black musical to open on Broadway, In Dahomey (which became the first black show to give a command performance before English royalty). In 1910, he joined Florenz Ziegfelds Follies--the only black then regularly appearing on Broadway. Williams career was marked by racism. "Its no disgrace to be a Negro but its certainly an inconvenience, " he said. Despite his status, Williams did not escape the burnt-cork makeup, never dropping the black caricature to move on to dramatic roles.
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George William Walker Aida Overton Walker
Musical Compositions of Bert Williams
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