Ma Rainey

Who was Ma Rainey?

Born Gertrude Pridgett on April 26, 1886, in Columbus, GA, Ma Rainey was the first popular stage entertainer to incorporate authentic blues into her song collection. Rainey was an inspiration for people like Langston Hughes. Rainey was on the first women to be involved in the Blues genre. 

“This be an empty world without the Blues.”

-Ma Rainey

“I can’t tell my future so I’m gonna tell my past.”

-Ma Rainey

Around 1915, Rainey and her husband, Pa Rainey toured with Fat Chappelle’s Rabbit Foot Minstrels. Following this, they were then known as the “Assassinators of the Blues”. Tolliver’s Circus and Musical Extravaganza accompanied. After seperating from her husband in 1916, Rainey later toured with her own band, Madam Gertrude Ma Rainey and Her Georgia Smart Sets, featuring a chorus line and a Cotton Blossoms Show, and Donald McGregor’s Carnival Show.

Accomplishments:

 Around 1915, the Raineys toured with Fat Chappelle’s Rabbit Foot Minstrels. Shortly after, they then became known as the “Assassinators of the Blues” with Tolliver’s Circus and Musical Extravaganza. 

After she separated from her husband in 1916, Rainey later toured with her own band, Madam Gertrude Ma Rainey and Her Georgia Smart Sets, featuring a chorus line and a Cotton Blossoms Show, and Donald McGregor’s Carnival Show.

 

Overall, what I have learned about Ma Rainey is that she was very essential to Blues, especially being an African American woman. She set the bar for the women to come after her.

By: Anya Davis