A Rich Theatrical History

Bert Williams was one of the best comedians that had ever lived. In 1902, Williams worked with a partner, George Walker to create an all African American production titled, In Dahomey, with music by Will Marion Cook and lyrics by Paul Lawrence Dunbar. It was the first All African American production to be done in a Broadway theater. The production traveled to London and did a command performance for Buckingham Palace in 1903.

They also signed a limited contract to record some of the songs from the musical. George Walker died in 1911.

Despite segregation, Williams went on to worked for Ziegfeld Follies with talent like Fannie Brice and Leon Errol in 1910 making an annual salary of 62,000 a year.

He was the type of performer who never quit. He performed with pneumonia one evening and passed out. The audience laughed because they thought it was part of the act. He died March 4, 1922. He was 47 years old.

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