Lena Horne - The Original Hollywood Activist

Singer, dancer and actress Lena Horne passed away last night in New York at the age of 92. Horne is best known for using her entertainment career to move forward civil rights for African-Americans.

She toured as a featured singer with a white band in 1940, a first for an African-American, according to her biography. She was also one of the first blacks to sign a long-term movie contract with a major Hollywood studio when she joined MGM in 1942.

But she was also known for her activism in other areas.

From Wikipedia:

Horne was long involved with the Civil Rights movement. In 1941, she sang at Cafe Society and worked with Paul Robeson, a singer who also combated American racial discrimination. During World War II, when entertaining the troops for the USO, she refused to perform "for segregated audiences or for groups in which German POWs were seated in front of African American servicemen", according to her Kennedy Center biography. Since the US Army refused to allow integrated audiences, she wound up putting on a show for a mixed audience of black US soldiers and white German POWs. She was at an NAACP rally with Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, the weekend before Evers was assassinated. She also met President John F. Kennedy at the White House two days before he was assassinated. She was at the March on Washington and spoke and performed on behalf of the NAACP, SNCC and the National Council of Negro Women. She also worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws. She was a member of the prominent organization Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

A pretty cool lady! RIP



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