Legends of the Blues: 5 Black Women of the Blues Era

All of these unique women influenced their culture and many to come. All of their work is just as phenomenal as they have proved to be. Explore the history of these Legends of the Blues: 5 Black Women of the Blues Era. Be sure to share some of your favorite blues legends with us on social media using the hashtag #blacksouthernbelle

Legends of the Blues: 5 Black Women of the Blues Era

Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith was nicknamed the “Empress of Blues.” Born in Chattanooga, TN on April 15, 1894. One of her most notable quotes is “It’s a long old road, but I know I’m gonna find the end.” Her record “Downhearted Blues” is considerably a record that helped shape the sound of the 20th century. Her career was 10 short years, and she passed on September 26, 1937.

“Ma” Rainey

“The Mother of Blues” Gertrude Pridgett was born April 26, 1886 in Columbus, GA. Some of her hits include “Trust No Man,” and “See See Rider Blues.” Her music can be considered to some as an early act of feminism through her lyrics. Later in her career, Paramount terminated her contract because her style was no longer interesting. She tragically died of a heart attack in 1939. 

Clara Smith

“The Queen of Moaners” was born in Spartanburg, SC. Unlike other blues singers, her voice was a little lighter, which helped her develop her title and distinguished her. You can hear the distinction in songs such as “Steamboat Man Blues.” She was born August 23, 1894, and died February 2, 1935 in her most recent home of Detroit, Michigan.

Lucille Hegamin

Lucille Hegamin was an American blues singer who was born in Macon, GA on November 29, 1894. Not only did she heal people’s hearts through her blues, but she also worked as a nurse when she retired from music. One of her most notable songs are “Always Be Careful Mama.” Being a part of one of New York’s greatest moments for African-Americans, she died in Harlem Hospital in New York City, March 1, 1970.

Ida Goodson

Pianist and blues singer, Ida Goodson was born November 23, 1909 in Pensacola, FL. It’s no surprise that Ida Goodson made it as a pianist because it was in her genes, for both her parents played the piano. Like most Black entertainers, Ida’s debut was in church. She made many memorable songs such as “Careless Love Blues.” January 5 2000, Ida passed away.




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