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Bob Cole, left, with J. Rosamond Johnson. Robert Allen "Bob" Cole (July 1, 1868 – August 2, 1911) was an American composer, actor, playwright, and stage producer and director. In collaboration with Billy Johnson, he wrote and produced A Trip to Coontown (1898), the first musical entirely created and owned by black showmen. The popular song La Hoola Boola (1898) was also a result of their collaboration. Cole later partnered with brothers J. Rosamond Johnson, pianist and singer, and James…

"A Quartette of DUSKY BEAUTIES" London,1903. "Rhoda King, Jessie Ellis, Birdie Williams, Gigas performed in "In Dahomey," the first all black musical comedy, which came to the Shaftesbury Theatre from New York with a cast of over 100. It was a huge success, and its Cakewalk, and Buck and Wing dances became crazes in the UK.

Leontyne Price (born 1927) by Bradley Phillips (1929-1991).Regardless of their talents, African American singers were for years generally barred from performing with this country's more prestigious opera companies. In 1952, when audiences experienced the rich voice of Mississippi-born soprano Leontyne Price in a revival of Porgy and Bess, it became clear that this long-standing barrier would soon be breached.

Little Gregory Hines, His Brother Maurice Hines and Mr Dizzy Gillespie - Jet Magazine October 7, 1954 by vieilles_annonces, via Flickr

Joyce "The Bronze Bombshell" Bryant, NYC, 1954 by Philippe Halsman. She would become the first dark-skinned African-American woman celebrated by the mass media as a 'sex-symbol'.

Soprano songtress Leontyne Price looking elegantly lovely in this wonderful colour portrait, photograph by Carl Van Vechten

Josephine Baker (6-3-06 to 4-12-75) was an American-born French dancer, singer, and actress. Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, she became a citizen of France in 1937. Fluent in both English and French, Baker became an international musical and political icon. She is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, for assisting the French Resistance during World War II, and for receiving the French military honor, the Croix de guerre.

Joyce Bryant was a blues and jazz singer in the 1940's and 50's. She was referred to as the Black Marilyn Monroe, and "the Voice You'll Always Remember". Remembered as a stunning performer with silvery blond hair offsetting a mahogany complexion, she rocketed to fame within the Black community and was regularly featured in magazines such as Jet and Ebony.

Alberta Hunter Alberta Hunter (April 1, 1895 – October 17, 1984)[1] was an American blues singer, songwriter, and nurse. Her career had started back in the early 1920s, and from there on, she became a successful jazz and blues recording artist, being critically acclaimed to the ranks of Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith. In the 1950s, she retired from performing and entered the medical field, only to successfully resume her singing career in her 80s.

Harry Belafonte | Black Hollywood Series Harold George Belafonte, Jr. (born March 1, 1927) is an American musician, actor and social activist. One of the most successful Jamaican musicians in history, he was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style in the 1950s. Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing the "Banana Boat Song", with its signature lyric "Day-O".

Peggy "Lady Bo" Jones was one of the first female lead guitarists in rock & roll, Peggy Jones is most notable for her work in Bo Diddley's backing band, for which she earned the affectionate -- and appropriate -- nickname Lady Bo. However, her musical resume is much longer, boasting stints as a doo wop singer and an R/soul bandleader. Born in New York, Jones began her career as a professional dancer.