Famous Columbus singer gets New York Times obit — eight decades late

Local News
Ma Rainey obit Chuck_1560453599771.jpg.jpg

A famous Columbus singer had her obituary published in the New York Times this week — almost 80 years after her death.

Ma Rainey, who died of a heart attack on Dec. 22, 1939 in Rome, Ga., was featured in a Times series entitled “Overlooked.”  It is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times. This month the newspaper added the stories of important L.G.B.T.Q. figures.

“Overlooked No More: Ma Rainey, the ‘Mother of the Blues: With her unapologetic lyrics, Rainey proudly proclaimed her bisexuality and helped to mainstream black female narratives in a musical style that later became a nationwide craze.”

Rainey’s Columbus roots are not hard to find. Her home at  805 Fifth Ave., is a museum. Her name is on the Rainey-McCullers School Of Arts, a Muscogee County School District school.

Rainey had a rich musical history that dates back to the early Twentieth Century.

The Times obit described her this way:

“Often called the “Mother of the Blues,” she was the first entertainer to successfully bridge the divide between vaudeville — the cabaret-style shows that developed out of minstrelsy in the mid-1800s, and catered largely to white audiences — and authentic black Southern folk expression.”

Rainey was born in 1886 and married Will Rainey in 1904.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss