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Tue, 03.29.1870

Tom Lemonier, Actor, and Composer, born

Lemonier's Sheet Music

*Tom Lemonier was born on this date in 1870. He was a Black actor and composer.

Little is known about his childhood. He contributed to popular music during the ragtime era, particularly active in Black Vaudeville. His work has been featured in various musicals. Some of his work was published by the Gotham-Attucks Music Publishing Company. Numerous recordings of his songs were on Victor Records and Columbia Records.

In 1909 he joined the staff of music publisher Rose & Snyder. Lemonier became one of the first black actors to perform in a white play when in 1910, he worked as a steward in William A. Brady's production of Over Night. Previously these characters had been performed in blackface. His abilities and the positive reception he received convinced Brady to hire additional African American actors for the role in touring versions of the show. Playbill notes him as a performer in the 1912 musical Little Miss Brown. In addition to the original production, he was part of a national tour of this show.

In 1915 Lemonier wrote the anthem, Praise God We Are Not Weary, for the National Half-Century Exposition and Lincoln Jubilee. Lemonier collaborated with various other musicians and lyricists to produce compositions. In 1917, Lemonier established a sheet music business with Lew Payton and Tom Brown. He appeared on the radio station WGY in 1923 as a whistler. In 1926 he was concentrating entirely on sacred music. Tom Lemonier died on March 14, 1945.

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