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Sat, 09.01.1883

Anita Bush, trailblazing actress and dancer

Anita Bush

Anita Bush was born on this date in 1883. She was a Black dancer, actress, and theatrical administrator.

Born in New York, Anita Bush was introduced to the world of theater by her father, a tailor whose clients included many New York actors and performers.  At the age of 16, Anita joined the Williams and Walker Company as a dancer. In 1915, determined that Blacks should perform serious dramatic works, she formed the Anita Bush Players of Harlem, the first professional Black dramatic non-musical theater ensemble in the United States. This group later became the Lafayette Players. The company survived until January 23, 1932, but in its 17 years, it was responsible for training over 300 Black performers and introducing serious theater to many cities across the country.

The Anita Bush Players opened at the Lincoln Theater in New York City on November 15th 1915, with "The Girl at the Fort." Its run was short but successful. On December 27 of that year, the players transferred to the larger Lafayette Theater where they became the Lafayette Players. Bush left the group in 1920, and went on to co-star in "The Crimson Skull" (1921) the first all-Black Western movie. She died in February 1974.

Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York
ISBN 0-926019-61-9

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