Posted on 01/21/2016

Photo taken on September  1, 1929

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Old Photographs Old Photographs


Fannie S. Clay
Fannie Clay Robinson
Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson
African American Woman
She had brief stint in vaudeville
....as a dancer

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Fannie Robinson

Fannie Robinson
Fannie Clay was born in Ripley, Tennessee in 1891, the daughter of former slaves Elen Gilliland Clay and Hugh Clay. In 1910 she graduated from Lauderdale County Training School and relocated to Memphis, Tennessee with her family. She eventually relocated to Chicago, where she studied to become a pharmacist. While working at a drug store to pay for her education she met the man who would become her husband of twenty-one years. Fannie Clay and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson were married January 27, 1922, (she was his 2nd wife). No longer focusing on her career she worked as her husband's secretary and business manager. She's credited as playing a significant role in his success by working behind the scenes. They divorced June 25, 1943 due to his gambling, womanizing, and Fannie’s desire to have him slow down due to his heart condition. When they divorced Fannie is quoted as having said they “agreed to disagree" but remained the best of friends. The couple never had children. In the 2001 movie “Bojangles” Gregory Hines played the lead and Fannie's character was portrayed by Kimberly Elise.

Photo: National Vaudeville Artists Fund (1929)
Source: blackripley.com