ROSA HENDERSON (c1896 - 1968)

Rosa Henderson Rosa Henderson is another one of those Classic Blues singers who's musical accomplishments have remained relatively obscure. She was also known as: Flora Dale, Rosa Green, Mae Harris, Mamie Harriat, Sara Johnson. Sally Ritz, Josephine Thomas, Gladys White and Bessie Williams (Viola McCoy also used the pseudonym "Bessie Williams"). Whew!

She was born Rosa Dechamps on November 24, 1896(c) in Henderson, KY. The same year that the Supreme Court in Plessy vs. fergurson decided that segregation of the races was legal and needed. Her uncle was the owner of a carnival. She left home early to travel with the show throughout the South. In c1918, she teamed with comedian Douglas "Slim" Henderson who she married the same year. They had two children. Together they worked with John Mason and formed the Mason-Henderson performing troupe touring across the U.S. Mr. Henderson died in 1928.

I'm Broke Fooling With You Later moving to New York City, Rosa appeared in the "GO GET IT" REVUE and c1923, recorded on the Victor/Paramount/Vocalian/Columbia/Ajax and Pathe- Actuelle labels. Needless to say, Rosa was a busy woman and her voice was in demand.

Throughout the 1920's she continued to perform in such shows as: THE PRICELESS FUNNY REVUE, QUINTARD MILLER'S REVUE, SEVENTH AVENUE AFFAIRS, THE HARLEM ROUNDERS REVUE, BRUNETTES PREFERRED andmany more. By the early 1930's, after working at a feverish pace, Rosa worked mostly outside of music in New York City.

Bill Daynes-Wood in the July 1968 "Jazz Journal Magazine" (UK) said," Rosa was one of the most outstanding of the many early women vaudeville-blues singers to record for the race record companies in the early twenties."

REFERENCE: I have been using as a reference for many of the "obscure" performers, the BLUES WHO'S WHO. Great book and is available in most of the larger book stores; and if not on the shelf can be easily ordered.

Lea Gilmore
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Rosa Henderson

©1999 Lea A. Gilmore and P.W. Fenton, All Rights Reserved.