• October 31, 1896 Ethel Waters, hall of fame gospel, blues and jazz vocalist and actress, was born in Chester, Pennsylvania. Waters began singing professionally in 1913 and for several years toured on the Black vaudeville circuit. In 1921, she recorded “The New York Glide” and “At the New Jump Steady Ball.” In 1933, Waters starred in the all-Black film “Rufus Jones for President.” That same year, she took a role in the Broadway musical revue “As Thousands Cheer” where she was the first Black woman in an otherwise White show. In 1949, Waters was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film “Pinky” and in 1950 won the New York Drama Critics Award for her performance in the play “The Member of the Wedding.” Also in 1950, she starred in the television series “Beulah” but quit after complaining that the scripts portrayal of African Americans was degrading. In 1962, Waters was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for an appearance on the television show “Route 66.” Waters died September 1, 1977. She was posthumously inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1984. In 1994, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in her honor. Waters’ recordings “Dinah” (1925), “Am I Blue” (1929), and “Stormy Weather” (1933) were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame as “qualitatively or historically significant.” In 2004, “Stormy Weather” was listed on the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important.” Waters authored two autobiographies, “His Eye is on the Sparrow: An Autobiography” (1951) and “To Me, It’s Wonderful” (1972). A biography, “Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters,” was published in 2011.
The Women’s Committee, whose main goal is to raise funds for the museum, also hosts a silent auction during the wine tasting affair every year. General admission tickets are only $60; limited VIP tickets are available from $100. Purchase tickets at the museum, by phone at (800) 838-3006, or online at http://thewright.org. Phone and online tickets are subject to service charge.
“We are so delighted with the members of The Women’s Committee who have donated their time and talent to help the Wright,” said Juanita Moore, President/CEO. “This awesome committee of volunteers helps so much to further our mission of art, literacy and culture in the African American community. Their events are amazing.”
About the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. For more information please visit TheWright.org or call (313) 494-5800. Follow the Wright on social media: Twitter @thewrightmuseum Instagram @thewrightmuseum Facebook @thewrightmuseum