Legendary singer and actress Lena Horne died today at age 92, but her legacy stretches far beyond her immense talent as a performer. A few excerpts from today’s tribute to Horne in The New York Times:

Though she was not the first black performer under contract to a major studio – MGM had signed the actress Nina Mae McKinney for five years in 1929 – Ms. Horne was the first to make an impact. The N.A.A.C.P. celebrated her contract as a weapon in its war to get better movie roles for black performers…

… In the early 1960s Ms. Horne, always outspoken on the subject of civil rights, became increasingly active, participating in numerous marches and protests…

… Looking back at the age of 80, Ms. Horne said: “My identity is very clear to me now. I am a black woman. I’m free. I no longer have to be a ‘credit.’ I don’t have to be a symbol to anybody; I don’t have to be a first to anybody. I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”

What’s on your mind tonight?

Jim Moss

Jim Moss

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