Bessie’s family was poor, so Bessie and her brother, Andrew, performed on the streets of Chattanooga. They performed as a duo on the streets in the heart of the African- American Community. Andrew played the guitar while she sang or danced. Their favorite spot was in front of the White Elephant Saloon. Her experience on the street would eventually lead her to the show performer she was.
In 1912, Bessie’s career began with a small act. Clarence, her oldest brother, was a part of the travelling Stokes Troupe. Finally, Bessie was old enough to join, so …show more content…
Race relations were really harsh at this time and it showed at a concert of hers. She was performing in a tent when the Ku Klux Klan arrived. They started pulling up the tent stakes and tried to ruin her performance. Bessie quickly approached them and said “pick up them sheets and run!” The KKK left, and Bessie returned back to her performance.
In 1929, Bessie Smith had a Broadway debut. The show was called “Pansy”, and it did not turn out good. The producer had no prior experience to shows. Also, the cast did not have enough time to practice, and the plot was not good. People did not like it, and it stopped playing three days after the debut. This was not a good thing for Bessie’s career.
In 1931, The Great Depression was taking a toll on Columbia Records. The record company was having a hard time recording, so Bessie left. However, she still went on and toured with her own show “The Bessie Smith Revue.” She sang in saloons and continued to draw people