Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith
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By Grace Ericson

Storyboard Text

  • Hi, my name is Bessie Smith I was born April 15, 1894 In Chattanooga, TN. I am a black American jazz singer of the 1920s and 30s known as "Express of the Blues".
  • In 1923 I was signed to Columbia records. I was one of the most popular female blues singers and one of the greatest of her era and was a major influence on other jazz singers.
  • Some of her accomplishes are that her first recording "Down Hearted Blues" b/w "Golf Coast Blues" sold an estimated 800,000 copies. By the time she died she had about 160 recordings cute between 1923 and 1933. She died in 1937 from a traffic collision around age 43 but in 1994 the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative Bessie Smith postage stamp. In 1989 she was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Her song "Downhearted Blues" won many awards. In 2001 it was named one of the Songs of the Century by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2002 it was placed on the National Recording Preservation Board by the Library of Congress, and in 2006 it was placed in the Grammy Hall of Fame. 
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