From the Collections of the Amistad Research Center
Fredi Washington, actress, dancer, casting consultant, and journalist, was a native of Savannah, Georgia. She began her theatrical career in 1922 as a dancer in the broadway production of Shuffle Along by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle. Other stage appearances, usually in leading rolls, included Black Boy; Great Day, Singin' the Blues, Sweet Chariot, Mamba's Daughters, A Long Way From Home, and Lysystrata. Her film credits include leading rolls in Emperor Jones, Drums in the Jungle, Black and Tan Fantasy, and Imitation of Life.
Fredi Washington was one of the founders, in 1937, of the Negro Actors Guild and served as its first executive secretary. From 1942 to 1947, she was editor and columnist for The People's Voice, edited and published by her brother-in-law, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Her marriage, in 1933, to Lawrence Brown, trombonist with Duke Ellington's orchestra, ended in divorce in 1951. In 1952, she married a dentist, Hugh Anthony Bell, who died in 1970.
This collection contains approximately one hundred pieces of correspondence. Notable names among the correspondence are Countee Cullin, Ossie Davis, Owen Dodson, Duke Ellington, Mary Garden, Dorothy Heyward, Edith Isaacs, Walter White, and Isabel Powell, sister of Fredi and also an actress prior to her marriage to Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
An important group of news clippings contains reviews of productions in which Fredi Washington appeared and feature articles on other entertainers. Also among the clippings are Fredi Washington's columns for The People's Voice. Other groups in the collection are theatre programs, scripts, photographs, and documentation of honors conferred on Fredi Washington, including her induction into the Black Filmmaker's Hall of Fame in 1975
Number of reels: 2