Posted on 08/31/2013

Photo taken on March  1, 1903

See also...

Old Photographs Old Photographs

Women's History Women's History


Aida Overton Walker
Wife of George W Walker
Williams and Walker
Gone way too soon
Vaudevillian Supreme
Queen of the Cakewalk

Authorizations, license

Visible by: Everyone
All rights reserved

Photo replaced on August 31, 2013
1 954 visits

Aida Overton Walker

Aida Overton Walker
Aida Overton Walker (also known as Ada Overton, 1880 - 1914) was one of the greatest performers who defined the dance of black vaudeville, the cakewalk. Walker began her career with the concert singer Sissieretta Jones, known as the "Black Patti," and her Troubadours. She met George Walker, her future husband, and his comedy partner Bert Williams when they all posed for a photograph for a trade-card sponsored by the American Tobacco Company in 1898.

Williams and Walker were pioneers in introducing ragtime to their vaudeville work, and Aida Overton helped them introduce the cakewalk, a dance reminiscent of slaves mockery of white society that was then used by white minstrels. During her short lifetime, Aida Overton Walker became the principal delineator of the cakewalk, but she also was responsible for all choreography of Williams and Walker's revues. Therefore, she contributed to the changeover from the coon show to African American musical revues, as dance was just as integral to the work of Williams and Walker as the music and the comedy.

[Photo: White of NY] [Bio: Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, edited by Cary D. Wintz, Paul Finkelman]