Bert Williams and George Walker
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Vaudeville perfumers Bert Williams (left) and George Walker in blackface and comic outfits on the 1903 cover to the sheet music for 'I'm a Jonah Man' (from the musical In Dahomey). Bert Williams was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. Fellow vaudevillian W.C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as 'the funniest man I ever saw -- and the saddest man I ever knew.'
Williams, Bert, 1874-1922 -- Portraits ;Walker, George, 1873-1911 -- Portraits ;Grainger, Percy, 1882-1961. In Dahomey
Theater -- History -- 19th century ;Theater -- History -- 20th century ;Actors -- Portraits ;Entertainers -- Portraits ;African American comedians ;Minstrels ;Blackface entertainers
University of Nebraska--Lincoln, Libraries
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