Lena Horne


My only friends were the group of New Yorkers who sort of stuck with their own group — like Vincente, Gene Kelly, Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen, and Richard Whorf — the sort of hip New Yorkers who allowed Paul Robeson and me in their houses

Lena Horne, nytimes.com, May 2010

Lena Horne was an American singer, actress, civil rights activist and dancer born on 30th June 1917 in Brooklyn. She left school aged 16 in order to help support her mother and thereafter became a dancer at The Cotton Club in Harlem. She went on to sing at Carnegie Hall, and also appeared in several successful Hollywood films. She was known for her civil rights activism, and she demonstrated this through her work, refusing to play roles that stereotyped African-American women. Her civil rights beliefs were demonstrated in the film Wiz, a version of the Wizard of Oz, but with an entirely African-American cast. Horne died in New York City of a heart failure on May 9, 2010.