News, Commentary on Classical Music, Jazz, Theater, Dance & More

Staten Island

Mamie Smith

Blues Legend Mamie Smith Gets Headstone on Unmarked Grave >>

Groundbreaking blues singer Mamie Smith has finally been given a headstone thanks to a writer and fan’s fundraising campaign. Michael Cala started the campaign while doing research for a book on Smith, the first black vocalist to record a blues song. Through his research, he realized that Smith had been lying in an unmarked grave in a cemetery in Staten Island, New York. "This is our way of acknowledging how one woman threw open the doors," Cala said, adding, "Thousands upon thousands of blues and jazz recordings ... may never have been made without Mamie." The fundraiser was so successful that he bought a $2,800 stone and donated $3,000 to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Park cemetery, which had been hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, for maintenance of other gravestones.

Real Time Analytics