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Etta Moten Barnett, The First Black Woman To Sing at The White House was an AKA

Did you know that actress/vocalist Etta Moten Barnett was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha? Barnett pledged the Delta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. at the University of Kansas.

Barnett was born in Weimar, Texas. She was best known for her role of “Bess” in Porgy and Bess. Barnett was pivotal in helping African American women get acting roles. She was also a contralto vocalist and used her voice to her advantage. On January 31, 1934, she became the first Black woman to sing at the White House. She performed as a soloist with the Eva Jessye Choir as her supporting cast.

We have added a list of her honors and a video clip of her performing if you want to check out a piece of history.

  • 1943 – University of Kansas, citation of merit
  • 1958 – National Association of Business and Professional Women, citation for service
  • 1973 – African Center of Atlanta University, citation for contributions to Afro-American music
  • 1974 – WAIT, citation for contributions to City of Chicago
  • 1979 – Inducted into Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, noted as: Actress, Concert Artist
  • 1983 – Candace Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women
  • 2001 – Inducted into the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity, University of Kansas

THE CARIOCA, Etta Moten Barnett, 1933

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