Dinah Washington, a passionate blues singer
On this date in 1924, Dinah Washington was born. She was an African American blues singer noted for excellent voice control and her unique gospel-influenced delivery.
Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as Ruth Lee Jones she was a child when her family moved to Chicago. She sang and played the piano for her church choir. In 1939, she began to sing and play piano in various Chicago nightclubs, in addition to touring with Sallie Martin's gospel group. About 1942-43 she adopted the stage name Dinah Washington. From 1943 to 1946, she sang with the Lionel Hampton band and in 1946, began a successful solo career. During the period from 1949 to 1955, her recordings were consistently among the top ten hits of the rhythm-and-blues charts.
Even after she crossed over to the popular (pop) music market, in which she had her greatest commercial success, Washington retained many of her earlier fans because of her passionate, supple style. Often referred to as The Queen of the Blues, she died Dec. 14, 1963, in Detroit, Michigan.
Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York
Today in American History