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On this date, in 1864, Flora Batson was born. She was a Black concert singer.
From Washington D.C., Batson’s youth was primarily spent in Providence, Rhode Island, where she made her first public appearances. Batson sang in churches and a variety of programs promoting women’s temperance. She reached a summit with her career in 1885 with the Bergen Star Company as their lead singer. In 1896, another phase of her singing took place with Black bassist Gerard Miller. The two performed together as a featured duet in the South Before the War Company.
Concert appearances outside the United States included Great Britain, the Samoan Islands, New Zealand, Australia, India, Fiji, China, and Japan. Her last years were spent in Philadelphia performing concerts and dramatic presentations. Batson was one of the most famous Black concert singers of the late nineteenth century, known as the “Double–Voiced Queen of Song,” Flora Batson died on December 1, 1906.
The Book of African American Women
150 Crusaders, Creators, and Uplifters
by Tonya Bolden