Georgia Burke (February 27, 1878 — November 28, 1985) was an African-American actress who had performed on television, radio, and Broadway theatre between the 1930s and the 1960s. In 1934 Burke made her debut in Broadway in They Shall Not Die, and in 1944 she won a Donaldson Award as the third choice for Best Supporting Actress in Edward Chodorov's play, Decision. Burke had performed in the 1952 U.S. State Department-sponsored international production of Porgy and Bess and had taken a role as a nurse in the radio program When a Girl Marries, which had been broadcast for 18 years. She had also performed in the 1944 Broadway production of Anna Lucasta and its second film counterpart in 1958.
February 27, 1878
|Died||November 28, 1985 107) (aged|
Manhattan, New York City
|Years active||late 1920/early 1930s - 1960s|
She died in 1985 at the age of 107, at the De Witt Nursing Home in Manhattan.
Early life and career
Burke was born on February 27, 1878, in La Grange or Atlanta, Georgia, to a minister and a nurse. She attended Claflin University and New Orleans University and worked as a public school teacher in Wilson, North Carolina. Due to a slapping incident by superintendent Charles L. Coon towards another teacher, Burke, along with other colored teachers at the school, protested the incident by resigning from her teaching position and continued teaching at another school. Burke later moved to New York City, where she attended Columbia University in 1929.
During a visit to Lew Leslie's first rehearsal of Blackbirds of 1928, a friend of Burke's urged her to sing St. Louis Blues in front of the rehearsal cast, where Leslie had walked in and—among hearing her voice—urged her to join the pre-existing choir for Blackbirds of 1928. She was given a year's leave from teaching but never returned to her former teaching career.
- John Henry: Black River Giant
- When a Girl Marries
- New World A-Comin'
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