Mercedes Gilbert

Mercedes Gilbert ((1894-07-26)July 26, 1894 (1952-03-01)March 1, 1952) was an African-American actress novelist, and poet.[1] She was a native of Jacksonville, Florida, and attended Edward Waters College, where she had originally trained to be a nurse, before coming to New York and entering the entertainment profession, first as a songwriter and then as a stage actress.[2]

Mercedes Gilbert
Born26 July 1894
Died1 March 1952
Years active1921-1950

She was known for playing Zipporah, the wife of Moses, in the original touring production of "The Green Pastures" in 1930.,[3] and she was still performing in 1950, appearing on Broadway in a new version of the play "Tobacco Road," with an all-black cast.[4] Gilbert appeared on the screen four times: first in the film The Call of His People in year 1921, next in the film Body and Soul in year 1925, in the film Moon Over Harlem in 1939 as Jackie's mother, and finally in the episode "The Green Dress" of the TV series Lights Out. She also appeared on radio, most notably in a 1943 tribute to black women in America called "Heroines in Bronze." She played the role of Sojourner Truth.[5] She performed occasionally on other radio programs, as well as writing and producing several radio skits. In the mid-1940s, she performed a one-woman show at historically black colleges across the United States.[6] In addition, she was the author of a 1938 novel, "Aunt Sara's Wooden God." [7]

Ms. Gilbert died at the age of 57, on Sunday March 1st in Queens General Hospital in New York after a three-week illness. She was survived by her husband Arthur J. Stevenson and a brother Earl Gough who was also an actor.[8]

  1. "Radio Artist to Appear in Recital Here." (Little Rock) Arkansas State Press, November 26, 1943, p. 1.
  2. "Mercedes Gilbert, Stage, Radio Actress." New York Times, March 6, 1952, p. 31.
  3. J. Brooks Atkinson, "New Negro Drama of Sublime Beauty." New York Times, February 27, 1930, p. 20.
  4. Sam Zolotow, "Stage Committee Aims to Continue." New York Times, March 3, 1950, p. 20.
  5. "Footlight Flickers." Kansas City (KS) Plain Dealer, April 2, 1943, p. 6.
  6. "Another Talent," Wichita (KS) Negro Star, December 7, 1945, p. 1.
  7. "Latest Books Received." New York Times, October 30, 1938, p. 36.
  8. "Mercedes Gilbert, Noted Actress, Buried In N.Y." Baltimore Afro-American. March 15, 1952. Retrieved 24 September 2014.

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