Pearl Hobson (1879- ?)

In the decades prior to the Russian Revolution, Pearl Hobson became the most popular African American dancer and singer in Imperial Russia.  Known by various names but mostly by her Russian stage name which translated into English was “Mulatto Sharpshooter,” Hobson captivated elite audiences from St. Petersburg to Moscow although apparently … Read MorePearl Hobson (1879- ?)

Robert “Bobby” Waltrip Short (1924-2005)

Recording artist and three-time Grammy award nominee Bobby Short, a self-taught piano prodigy during his childhood, was regarded as the quintessential sophisticated cabaret and supper-club vocalist and piano player of his time.  Short, who learned to play piano by ear at the age of four, … Read MoreRobert “Bobby” Waltrip Short (1924-2005)

Herbert “Herb” Jeffries (1913-2014)

Herb Jeffries, baritone jazz balladeer and first black singing cowboy in the movies, was born Umberto Alexander Valentino on September 24, 1913 in Detroit, Michigan, to a mixed-race father and an Irish-born mother.  His mother operated a boarding house and raised her son alone.  His … Read MoreHerbert “Herb” Jeffries (1913-2014)

Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams (1915-2002)

Saxophonist, bandleader and songwriter Paul Williams was a performer at The Moondog Coronation Ball in Cleveland in 1952, considered to be the first rock concert. He has been recognized as a pioneer in the American music industry. Paul Williams was born on July 13, 1915 … Read MorePaul “Hucklebuck” Williams (1915-2002)