Bessie Smith Thesis

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Bessie Smith, also known as the empress of the blues, was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920's. She was born on April 15, 1894 in Chattanooga Tennessee. Bessie smith was the daughter of Laura and William Smith, a Baptist minister, and was one of seven children. Her mother, father, and two brothers died before she was nine. To earn money, Bessie and her brother became street performers, with her dancing and singing and him playing the guitar. In 1912, Bessie performed with Ma Rainey and became a dancer in a theatre and eventually starting singing in different places. Bessie Smith was married two times in her life. She first married Earl Love in 1920 and he died a year later. In 1923 on June 7, Bessie Smith married Jack Gee, a security guard. They adopted a son and named him Jack Gee Junior in 1926.…show more content…
She was able to project her voice without a microphone. Bessie also had a strong stage presence. In addition to singing, she tied in comedy and dancing into her performances. Her first recording "Down-Hearted Blues" sold 800,000 copies in 1923. Smith then was able to buy a custom designed railroad car for herself and her group to travel in. Bessie recorded and performed with many famous artists including Clarence Williams, Louis Armstrong, and Fletcher Henderson's Band. Bessie also starred in the film "St. Louis Blues" in 1929. Bessie Smith died on September 26, 1937 when she was hit by a truck while driving with Richard Morgan. She was on her way to a show in Mississippi. She was taken to Clarksdale hospital where she died later that morning. Bessie Smith a a big funeral four days after her death that thousands attended. She did not have a grave stone until 1970, when Juanita Greene and bought her one that said "The Greatest Blues Singer In The World Will Never Stop Singing." Bessie Smith was an incredible and influential blues artist. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in
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