Ethel Waters

The child of a teenage rape victim, 'Ethel Waters' (qv) grew up in the slums of Philadelphia and neighboring cities, seldom living anywhere for more than a few weeks at a time. No one raised me, she recollected, I just ran wild. She excelled not only at looking after herself, but also at singing and dancing; she began performing at church functions, and as a teenager was locally renowned for her hip shimmy shake. In 1917 she made her debut on the black vaudeville circuit; billed as Sweet...  Read more »