Bessie Smith

Emily Foreman

About Bessie Smith's Career

Bessie Smith was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She was an African American blues singer. She was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. Smith was often nicknamed The Empress of the Blues. One of her hits was called "Downhearted Blues". Her songs were all over the new invented radio. Even in the south, where things were segregated, her songs played. She made 160 recordings for Columbia. In 1929, Smith was in a film called St. Louis Blues. Smith's career stopped because of the Great Depression in the 1930s, but she never really stopped performing. She sang in clubs all over America. On September 26, 1937, She was injured in a car accident. She died later that day.

About Bessie Smith's Life

Bessie Smith was the daughter of Laura and William Smith. She had a brother, Clarence, and a sister, Viola. Before she was nine, her mother, father, and brother all died. Her sister, Viola took care of her. In 1923, was when she began her recording career. She fell in love with Jack Gee and she married him on June 7, 1923.