Lena Horne Becomes First Black Woman To Have Broadway Theater Named After Her

As a feminine actor, singer and civil rights activist of the twentieth century, Lena Horne shattered glass ceilings for a dwelling. Now, she’s the primary Black girl in American historical past to have a Broadway theater named in her honor, in keeping with CBS Information.

“I didn’t realize how emotional it was gonna be, and now I’m kind of weeping buckets,” her granddaughter Jenny Lumet instructed Folks. “My grandma’s a Bed–Stuy girl, and we’re a New York family. So to have her always be in New York City in the theater district, it means everything.”

Lots of Horne’s friends and people she influenced gathered on the former Mansfield Theatre (which was renamed the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in 1960) now bearing her identify for the ceremony, together with New York Mayor Eric Adams, Gov. Kathy Hochul — who referred to as Horne a “fearless agent of change” — and actor Vanessa Williams.

“As gorgeous as she was, she was a woman of color,” mentioned Williams, per CBS Information. “She still had discriminating circumstances, and roles weren’t given to her. I was at an event, and she was there, and I remember bursting into tears because she meant that much to me.”

Born in Brooklyn in 1917, Horne began singing at Harlem’s famend Cotton Membership when she was 16, in keeping with PBS. Her Broadway debut the next yr in “Dance With Your Gods” led to Hollywood — the place she signed a seven-year contract with MGM in 1942.

Horne was the primary Black American to have a significant film studio contract.

Williams mentioned Horne’s activism “came out of her experiences in life.” Horne realized about Black American historical past and grew politically savvy whereas working at Café Society in 1941.

Throughout World Battle II, Horne refused to carry out for segregated audiences, in keeping with CBS Information. Within the Nineteen Fifties, she was blacklisted as an alleged communist sympathizer. Her FBI file was lively till the mid-Seventies.

Horne marched in Washington, D.C., in 1963 and carried out throughout America for the Nationwide Council for Negro Girls. She received Grammys, Emmys and Tony Awards, and an NAACP Picture Award, earlier than dying of coronary heart failure at 92 years previous in 2010.

Horne died of coronary heart failure in 2010 at 92 years previous.

Bettmann by way of Getty Photographs

Lumet, who adopted in her grandmother’s Hollywood footsteps, told CBS Morning that Tuesday’s unveiling was a “celebration of the contributions of Black women to theater history.” For these in attendance, there was little question about it.

“It’s all about legacy, making sure people know that she created a path for others to follow, that they don’t have to feel that they’re alone, that someone was there before and head of time,” added actor Wendell Pierce. “She had true courage.”