This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Bert Williams Essay

2072 words - 9 pages

Egbert Austin Williams better known as Bert, was an African American performer during the late 19th and early 20th century. He was born in Nassau, Bahamas on November 12, 1874. He was the child of Frederick, who was a sailor and his mother Julia. When Williams was 11 he and his family moved to Riverside in southern California. While in Nassau, Williams encountered very little racism, southern California however was a much different story which troubled him deeply throughout his lustrous career. Although he faced racism throughout his career he still was extremely successful. By the time he died in March of 1922, he had broken down numerous racial doors that has had an everlasting impact on Broadway. He became a legend as a comedian, songwriter, singer, and dancer in American Musical Theater.
Bert Williams moved to San Francisco to attend college at the University of San Francisco in 1892. While in school Williams would write songs, and do impressions at local venues to earn some extra money. He met a man named George Walker, a fellow black artist, who was a young and talented performer. These two decided to put an act together, and to tell one’s story is to tell the others as well. Williams and Walker called themselves for a time, “The Two Real Coons”. They “worked in the minstrel tradition, originally created by Whites wearing blackface as a vehicle for demeaning humor aimed at African Americans” (BHS). Williams was able to turn this around however as he “avoided the racial stereotype as he transformed the sorrow of his race into the stuff of laughter” (Stempel 92). He would also find a way to tell a tale all races could share and relate to.
That was just the start for Williams and Walker. Their act which developed from minstrel stereotypes was, “Walker; the flamboyant ‘dandy’ and glib con artist; Williams, the dim ‘darky’ bemused by his perpetual hard luck” (Stempel 88). This made them the most popular black comedians in vaudeville. By 1896 they were touring the east coast and as Stempel puts it their act was, “cakewalk dancers…that pitted Walker’s athleticism against Williams’s eccentricities” This earned them rave reviews by the famous composer Victor Herbert. They were then recruited by composer Will Cook, who was also African American, to join his play Clorindy.
After they finished with Clorindy, they formed their own touring company, which they used to produce all black shows which they wrote and co-stared in. The William and Walker Company which lasted from 1899 to 1909, created three important hit productions: In Dahomey (1903), Abyssinia (1906), and Bandanna Land (1908). In Dahomey, directed by Will Cook, opened on February 18, 1903, would proved to be the most successful of the three. The show was about trying to colonize Africa and a couple black, shady businessmen in Boston used the less fortunate of their own race to do so. They must find an heirloom to help fund the plan so they hire two detectives who are played by Walker a...

Find Another Essay On Bert Williams

Slipping in the Quicksand: Guilt, Psychology, and the Fall of Blanche Dubois

2141 words - 9 pages , an excess of guilt does much more harm than good, and in Blanche’s case, the surplus of it comes at the price of her sanity. Works Cited Cardullo, Bert. “Drama of Intimacy and Tragedy of Incomprehension: A Streetcar Named Desire Reconsidered.” Tennessee Williams: A Tribute (1977). Rpt. in Tennessee Williams. Bloom’s Major Dramatists. Ed. Harold Bloom. Philadelphia: Chelsea, 2000. 89-91. Print. Kernan, Alvin B. “Truth and Dramatic Mode in

Transparent Glass Essay

1271 words - 6 pages We all like movies, but is it better to read a play or to watch it? Most would rather pick a movie as an easier solution. It may be a burden to sit down and read a play, a more entertaining option would be an easy to follow movie. However, a movie may leave important information out that you would get from reading a play or it might just do the opposite. In The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams we will see the differences between the written

The Glass Menagerie: Trapped and Going Nowhere

1891 words - 8 pages A miserable life vs. a fantasy life Have you ever felt trapped within the confines of your own home, or as if your life is going nowhere? In Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, this is Tom and Laura’s exact situation. Tom feels as if he is trapped in his own home while Laura’s life seems to be heading nowhere. In this play Tom is felt the most sympathy for due to his complicated predicament of not being able to leave his

Deception and Symbolism

1729 words - 7 pages Deception and Symbolism In Tennessee Williams play, "The Glass Menagerie" there is many forms of deception and symbolism. In this play Williams tells about a young man named Tom, his sister Laura, his mother Amanda, and his father. Tom is a character in the play and also the narrator of the play. Tom is a young man ready to "escape from his mother's apartment and from his shoe factory job..." (Londre' 68). Laura is a girl that is shy and

Blackface and Passing as a Performances

1682 words - 7 pages , the whites were not going to look upon her with the same appreciation as they would a white performer. Although Black Patti is trying to become a famous performer, she lowers herself upon the same stage as acrobats even with all her talent, and cannot receive the deserved respect.Another of Johnson's poems in Darktown Follies is "Nobody" , which is about a black, male, blackface performer, Bert Williams. The poem describes a typical night

Headlines of January, 1990

1105 words - 4 pages for some cash. With the help of the war crazed and paranoid survivalist Bert Gummer (Gross) and his wife Nancy (McEntire), they were able to overcome the giant monsters. The movie was a large success thanks to its special effects. The special effects were ingenious because they went in a different direction of the time. Most movies during this time were focused on using computer-generated images but Tremors made life-sized figures especially

The musical development from slave era music to traditional ragtime music

1181 words - 5 pages Alike to Me," which was written in early ragtime by a black performer named Ernest Hogan. (Whitcomb 106) Even though these songs contributed to black stereotyping in theatre, they represent a direct contribution to the musical stage by blacks. Another musical development was the introduction of cake walks. It was popularized by the black vaudeville team of Bert Williams and George Walker and not only did the Cake Walk introduce a black dance

The author of this essay will be discussing a patient with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

3083 words - 12 pages IntroductionThe author of this essay will be discussing a patient with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and will also be discussing the nursing care that will be received by the patient following a hypoglycaemic attack.The patient being described is a fictitious seventy year old lady called Mabel Gordon; she lives in a flat in a city centre with her husband Bert. Mabel has had type 2 diabetes for years which has been poorly controlled by medication and

Biography of Irving Berlin

1443 words - 6 pages 144). The songs didn’t match at all but were sung in simultaneous counterpoint (144). Counterpoint showstoppers would continue to be a specialty of Berlin’s from that point onward. Berlin provided an up-to-date score for Stop! Look! Listen! in 1915 (144). He was again commissioned in 1919 by Florenz Ziegfeld to write a few new numbers for Follies (146). He wrote songs for famous vaudevillians such as Eddie Cantor and Bert Williams, who were

Practice of Therapy

1931 words - 8 pages , mentally visualizing the case and include the DSM-IV-TR diagnosis, determine the long-term goals of treatment, decide treatment interventions, establish the frequency and length of treatment and deliberate any possible consultations and/or referrals (Patterson, J., Williams,, 2009). For example if a couple is having problems and from the wife’s point of view every time she expresses a need of any sort from her husband he simply withdraws. From

The Greatest Bands/Artists of All Time

2325 words - 9 pages Pete Best to become their permanent drummer. Their manager Alan Williams, having been told about the vivid nightlife and the love of rock and roll in Hamburg Germany, and arranged gigs for some of the groups he managed. On Aug 18 1960, John renamed the group The Beatles. The Beatles began a series of gigs in Hamburg. They stayed in Hamburg until December 1st. The atmosphere was filled with promiscuity, booze and pills. They would return

Similar Essays

Inherit The Wind Book Report

1284 words - 5 pages Inherit the Wind Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Inherit the Wind is a fictional account of a historical event known as the Scopes Monkey Trial. In social studies books, a short paragraph is frequently devoted to this case to illustrate how religious fundamentalists and free thinkers were at odds in the early twentieth century. The actual trial paired the famous lawyers Williams Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and

Inherit The Wind Book Report

1226 words - 5 pages Inherit the Wind Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Inherit the Wind is a fictional account of a historical event known as the Scopes Monkey Trial. In social studies books, a short paragraph is frequently devoted to this case to illustrate how religious fundamentalists and free thinkers were at odds in the early twentieth century. The actual trial paired the famous lawyers Williams Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and

The Glass Menagerie Essay

1300 words - 5 pages truly subjective: distorted, dreamlike or even nightmarish, and totally self-generated, a fantastic journey through the mind's inner reaches as well as the world's outer ones". (Cadullo, Bert)The Glass Menagerie is a very famous play in the American history. Tennessee Williams uses symbolism to reveal, in depth, attributes of characters and what they represent. The play is constructed so that each character has a defining symbol which resembles

The Tragic Blanche Du Bois In A Streetcar Named Desire

2088 words - 8 pages downfall of Blanche Dubois." Modern Critical Interpretation. (1988): 33-45. Print. Cardollo, Bert. "Drama of intaming an tradegy of incomprehension ." Modern Critical Interpretation. (1988): 60-92. Print.. Corrigan, Mary. Critical Companion To Tennessee Williams. 260-280. Print. Kernan, Alvin B. "Truth and dramatic in Street Car." Moderen Critical Interpretation. (1988): `17-20. Print. Mood , John J. "Structure of a streetcar desire." Street Car