After making an appearance in The Magnificent Esme Wells, Miss Lena Horne caught my attention. An actress, stage performance, and civil rights activist, Lena had an impressive career that spanned decades.
Getting her start at the infamous Cotton Club in 1933 she soon found herself in Hollywood, eventually earning roles in “Cabin in The Sky” and “Ziegfeld Follies.” However, after the onset of Macarthyism, she soon found herself blacklisted.
But she wouldn’t let getting blacklisted keep her down. Lena returned to the stage and became one of the premiere performers of the 1950’s, headlining all over North America.
Her long-standing commitment to civil rights was always at the forefront in her performances. While entertaining the troops during WWII, she was offended that in the segregated audience the Germans P.O.W.s were seated in front of the black troops.
So what did she do?
Lena got off the stage and performed in front of the black soldiers keeping her back to the Germans P.O.W.s
In addition to this, Lena attended the march on Washington, spoke and performed on behalf of the NAACP and worked with the National Council of Negro Women.
Working with Elenore Roosevelt, she attempted to get an anti-lynching bill passed on the national level. (Please take a pause here and contemplate the fact that our government could not pass an anti-lynching bill. It wasn’t until 2005 that a resolution was passed apologizing for not passing a bill)
Lena Horne’s legacy lives on as a woman who forged her own path all the while making her voice a voice for change.