Monday, May 10, 2010

May The Goddess Guard Her. May She Find Her Way To The Summerlands. May Her Friends And Family Know Peace.

AP reports that: In a statement Monday, Obama called Horne a most cherished entertainer who warmed hearts with her beautiful voice and dramatic on-screen performances. The president also hailed her efforts to promote justice and equality.

Horne was the first black performer to tour with an all-white band, and she refused to perform for segregated audiences while entertaining soldiers during World War II.

Obama said he and the first lady join all Americans in appreciating the joy Horne brought to their lives and the progress she forged for the country.

Horne died Sunday in New York at age 92.

Horne was an important voice for civil rights for African Americans:

In 1945, during World War II, Horne was scheduled to perform at an Army base in Fort Reilly, Kansas. Horne, unyielding in her stance against racism, refused to perform for the segregated military audience in which German POWs were seated in front of African American servicemen at a USO sponsored show. Horne immediately left the stage headed to the local NAACP office to file a complaint. MGM yanked Horne from the tour, forcing her to use her own money to travel and entertain the troops.

Horne, an outspoken advocate during the Civil Rights Movement and an active member of the NAACP once worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws and [was present] at the March on Washington, and spoke and performed on behalf of the NAACP. She marched alongside Medgar Evers in Jackson, Miss. at an NAACP rally the weekend before he was assassinated, joined 250,000 Americans in 1963 on the March on Washington when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech and met President John F. Kennedy at the White House two days before his assassination.

By the 1960s, Horne was one of the most visible celebrities affiliated with the civil rights movement. It was reported that the feisty diva once thr[ew] a lamp at a customer in a Beverly Hills restaurant after the customer spouted a racial epithet.

Horne's dedication to the Civil Rights Movement and tenacious fight against racism came as no surprise to many who knew Horne, the granddaughter of a freed slave and a descendent of the John C. Calhoun family. Calhoun, the seventh Vice President of the United States, was a writer, orator and nationalist who began his political career as a politician from South Carolina during the first half of 19th century who made his name with his redefinition of republicanism to include the approval of slavery and minority rights.

Calhoun's concept of concurrent majority, that a minority had the right to object to and even veto hostile legislation directed against it, secured his name within American history when it was later incorporated into the American value system.

More here.

Lena Horne had that almost indefinable quality: real class. It's what makes her rendition of "That's Why the Lady is a Tramp" so deliciously ironic.


Nance said...

Oh, good job! I was just thinking of posting on beautiful, classy Lena. I was going to choose "Stormy Weather," but this is so lovely. Lena Horne was extraordinary in every way.

Why do I often feel that there were women of my parents' generation who were more exquisitely beautiful, more vocally gifted, classier and cooler than the gals my generation or my daughter's produced? That can't be right, can it? I love Amy Winehouse's work to listen to, right through Back To Black, but...geez!

Hecate said...


Stormy Weather is another of her songs that just melt me!