logo

Fredi Washington became a famous actress in the '30s despite Hollywood's resistance to her race

Cynthia Rita
Oct 02, 2018
12:18 P.M.
Share this pen
FacebookFacebookTwitterTwitterLinkedInLinkedInEmailEmail

- Celebritist learned from ‘IMDb’ about the life of the dramatic film actress Fredi Washington.

Advertisement

- Fredi Washington was a beloved 1930’s actress despite her race, which often served as an impediment to her extraordinary acting ability.

- Fredi Washington stood her ground concerning her race throughout the course of her career.

Advertisement

Fredericka Carolyn Washington, simply known as Fredi Washington, was an African-American dramatic film actress.

Fredi was born in 1903 to African-American parents Robert T. Washington and Harriet Walker Ward.

Her first husband was Lawrence Brown. She then married dentist Hugh Anthony Bell after her divorce from Brown.

Washington was one of the first Black actors to gain recognition for her work in film and on stage.

She was active during the period known as Harlem Renaissance between the ‘20s and the ‘30s.

Advertisement

Washington was best known for her role as Peola in the 1934 version of the film ‘Imitation of Life’ in which she played a young light-skinned black woman who decides to pass as a white lady.

The dramatic actress was a pioneering African-American actress whose skin color and green eyes would often prove to be hindrances when trying to showcase her excellent acting skills.

Advertisement

Due to people’s obsession with her race and color, her talent was often overlooked.

However, in the few films she acted, her extraordinary talent was undeniable.

Fredi’s first film performance was as a dancer in the musical concert ‘Black and Tan’ with Duke Ellington in 1929.

She was urged to ‘pass’ for a full white by her studio heads in Hollywood, who promised to make her a bigger star than Norman Shearer, Joan Crawford, Constance Bennett and Greta Garbo.

The African-American actress turned down their request.

Advertisement

Although Fredi obviously had what it took, she never made it to the top like her contemporaries Ethel Waters and Josephine Bakers because she didn’t look black enough.

Her best work was on stage was notably in ‘Mamba’s Daughters’ with Ethel Waters.

She was also known as an activist.

Advertisement

As the head of the Negro Actors Guild, she helped black performers get a fair chance in the entertainment industry.

She participated actively in the Cultural Division of the National Negro Congress and the Committee for the Negro in the Arts in the 1940s and 50s.

She turned down several would-be benefactors who tried to persuade her to pass for white on stage and in films.

When asked why she didn’t try to ‘pass for white’, she responded:

‘Because I’m honest and because you don’t have to be white to be good.’

Hopefully, people who come across her work today will see her beauty and talent and will look beyond her race, unlike most people of her time.

What are your thoughts on this great black woman?

Source:

IMDb

Advertisement
info
Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Advertisement
Related posts

Meet Leslie Uggam's Kids with Husband Who It Was Socially Taboo & Illegal to Marry In Several States

April 28, 2022

Who Is Lexi Underwood? Get To Know the Rising Star Who Plays Malia Obama in 'The First Lady'

April 11, 2022

Sissy Spacek & Jack Fisk Are Married for 48 Years Although They ‘Never Expected a Lifelong Relationship’

February 16, 2022

Viola Davis Was Criticized for Her Lip Expressions While Playing Michelle Obama & Is 'Glad It's Over'

May 01, 2022

Alicia Keys Grew up without a Dad after He Abandoned Her — Meet the Singer's Mother Who Raised Her Alone

May 13, 2022

Black Woman Gives Birth to Two White Children in Two Years

January 29, 2022

'Scream' Star Jenna Ortega 'Is Drawn To Darker Things' — Get to Know the New Horror Princess

April 06, 2022

Piper Laurie Regretted Detailing 'Explicit' Intimacy with Co-star Ronald Reagan

March 03, 2022

Sophia Loren Prioritized Kids over Her Career – Her Successful Sons Are 'Proud' & Call Her 'a Survivor'

April 20, 2022

Sandra Bullock Wants to Be 24/7 Mom & Finally Decides to Leave Career behind for Her Kids

March 18, 2022

Sidney Poitier Shared 6 Children with 2 Different Women - Meet His 'Quite Intelligent' Look-Alike Daughters

October 18, 2022

Denzel Washington Realized a 1975 Prophecy That He Would ‘Speak to Millions of People’ Pointed To His Eventual Fame

May 03, 2022

Minnie Riperton Took Last Breath in Her Husband's Arms at 31 — Inside Their Interracial Marriage

April 26, 2022

Samuel L Jackson & Wife Are Married for 41 Years & 'Still Love Each Other' Though They Took 10 Years to Wed

March 10, 2022