Singer and actress Lena Horne, a trailblazing legend whose successful career was limited by the blatant racism of 1940s and ’50s show business, died last night. At 92, Horne had a well-lived life — one that was recognized today by President Obama. Here’s the official White House statement: “Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Lena Horne–one of our nation’s most cherished entertainers. Over the years, she warmed the hearts of countless Americans with her beautiful voice and dramatic performances on screen. From the time her grandmother signed her up for an NAACP membership as a child, she worked tirelessly to further the cause of justice and equality. In 1940, she became the first African American performer to tour with an all white band. And while entertaining soldiers during World War II, she refused to perform for segregated audiences–a principled struggle she continued well after the troops returned home. Michelle and I offer our condolences to all those who knew and loved Lena, and we join all Americans in appreciating the joy she brought to our lives and the progress she forged for our country.” For more of Cynthia Gordy‘s Obama Watch stories, click here.
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