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The Legacy of Pearl Bailey, An All-Around Entertainer

Pearl Bailey

Pearl Bailey was a trailblazer, humanitarian, President Medal of Freedom recipient and a true American entertainer. Bailey’s talent and determination propelled her to a household name leaving a mark on the worlds of music, theater, television, and activism.

From Vaudeville to Broadway: Bailey’s career began in vaudeville, where she honed her talents as a singer and dancer.  In 1946, she made her debut on Broadway with “St. Louis Woman”. She went on to grace renowned theaters, winning hearts and accolades with her performances in “Hello, Dolly!” and “Carmen Jones”. (In 1968, she earned a Special Tony Award for her performance in an all-Black production of “Hello, Dolly!”). Her performances catapulted her to stardom, showcasing her powerful vocals and captivating stage presence. 



Beyond Broadway: Bailey’s talent was versatile. She excelled in music, where her hit song “Takes Two to Tango” topped the charts. She graced television screens as the host of her own television show, “The Pearl Bailey Show”. Her voice also brought life to animation where she voice acted in Disney’s “The Fox and the Hound”.

A Legacy of Action: Beyond entertainment, Bailey was a champion for social justice. She advocated for civil rights, using her celebrity to promote equality and understanding. In 1975, she was appointed a special ambassador to the United Nations. This position reflected her commitment to building bridges and fostering unity across the globe.

Pearl Bailey was full of talent, resilience, and compassion. She entertained millions, broke down barriers, and used her voice to advocate for a better world.  

Want To Learn More? 

  • Reading her autobiography, “The Raw Pearl”, for a glimpse into her life and career.

Remember one person can truly make a difference.


Written with lots of care, 


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P.S. Share your favorite Paul Robeson song or featured play in the comments below.

Sources Used To Write This Post:

  1. Britanncia – Pearl Bailey
  2. Pennsylvania Center for the Book – Pearl Bailey
  3. Library of Virginia Education – Pearl Bailey

Check out: Revealing The Rich History of D.C’s Black Broadway


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