Saturday, November 30, 2013
Moms, born in 1894 and died in 1975, was a star of "The Chitlin Circuit" which was the African-American Vaudeville circuit where black performers appeared. She eventually made it to the Apollo Theater where it is reported that she earned $10,000 weekly and by the 1960s she appeared at Carnegie Hall. Moms was a lesbian who dressed in mens clothing offstage. In the Black Renaissance of Harlem in the 1920s, Moms was friends with Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston until a disagreement with Hughes made her choose the side of Hurston and then later she split with Hurston in the 1950s over political differences: Moms was supporting Progressive Democrats and Hurston was for Robert Taft!
In 1969 Moms was the oldest performer in history to have a Top 40 hit record with her version of Abraham, Martin, And John. Listen here for her moving rendition: