Ida Cox & Coleman Hawkins Quin – Blues For Rampart Street
Ida Cox (February 26, 1888 or 1896 – November 10, 1967) was an African-American singer and vaudeville performer, best known for her blues performances and recordings. She was billed as “The Uncrowned Queen of the Blues”.
Childhood and early career
Cox was born Ida M. Prather, the daughter of Lamax and Susie (Knight) Prather, sharecroppers in Toccoa, Habersham County, Georgia and grew up in Cedartown, Polk County, Georgia.Though many sources give her birth date as February 26, 1896, researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc suggest she was born in 1888, and note other evidence suggesting 1894.
Her family lived and worked in the shadow of the Riverside Plantation, the private residence of the wealthy Prather family, from which her namesake came.She faced a future of poverty and few educational and employment opportunities.
Cox joined the local African Methodist Choir at an early age and developed an interest in gospel music and performance.At the age of 14, she left home to tour with White and Clark’s Black & Tan Minstrels.She began her career on stage by playing Topsy, a “pickaninny” role commonly performed in vaudeville shows of the time, often in blackface.
Cox’s early experience with touring troupes included stints with other African-American travelling minstrel shows on the Theater Owners Booking Association vaudeville circuit: the Florida Orange Blossom Minstrels, the Silas Green Show, and the Rabbit Foot Minstrels.
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