Due to the death of both of his parents when he was an infant, Bill and his younger brother Percy were brought up by his grandmother.
His parents were Maxwell, a machine-shop worker, and Maria Robinson, a choir singer. His grandmother raised him after both parents died in when he was six years old—his father from chronic heart disease and his mother from natural causes.
Details of Robinson's early life are known only through legend, much of it perpetuated by Robinson himself. He claimed he was christened "Luther"—a name he did not like.
He suggested to his younger brother Bill that they should exchange names. Eventually, the exchange between the names of both brothers was made.
A promoter saw him performing outside the Globe Theater in Richmond and offered him a job as a "pick" in a local minstrel show. At that time, minstrel shows were staged by white performers in blackface. Pickaninnies were cute black children at the edge of the stage singing, dancing, or telling jokes.
He received an accidental gunshot wound from a second lieutenant who was cleaning his gun. The team broke up inand vaudeville performer Rae Samuels, who had performed in shows with Robinson, convinced him to meet with her manager and husbandMarty Forkins.
Forkins accomplished this by inventing an alternate history for Robinson, promoting him as already being a solo act. This technique succeeded, making Robinson one of the first performers to break vaudeville's two colored rulewhich forbade solo black acts.
The Keith and Orpheum Circuits underwrote vaudeville acts at reduced fees,  but Robinson volunteered to perform gratis for thousands of troops, in both black and white units of the Expeditionary Forces, receiving a commendation from the War Department in From — he was fully booked on the Orpheum Circuitand was signed full-time by the Keith in and In addition to being booked for 50—52 weeks an avid baseball fan, he took a week off for the World SeriesRobinson did multiple shows per night, frequently on two different stages.
Up on the Toes," Jazz Dancedescribes that Robinson introduced dancing "up on the toes" to tap dance.
This was a new advent to King Rastus Brown's popular "flat-footed wizardry. Pete Nugent is said to have remarked, "Robinson was the absolute tops in control.
Due to his adroit ability to be both light on his feet and distinct in his percussive taps, Robinson was called the Father of Tapology. Claims to the origin of the Stair Dance were highly disputed, however Robinson was widely accredited with the dance because his performances brought the dance into popularity.
Patent Office in Washington D. C to no avail, however this did not infringe on Robinson's professional command of the Stair Dance. The entertainment community began to associate the Stair Dance exclusively will Robinson as the routine became a standard part of his performances in Haskins reports that dancer, Fred Stone sent Robinson a check for having performed the routine.
The steps itself were not essential to Robinson's performances, rather Robinson would naturally shift into "a little skating step to stop-time; or a Scoot step, a cross-over tap" or plenty other tap steps involved in his particular movement quality.
Often Robinson would talk to his audience, share anecdotes, and act as if he was surprised by the action of his feet. His amusing personality was essential to his performances and popularity. Robinson is said to have consistently performed in split-soled wooden shoes, handcrafted by a Chicago craftsman.
The show was a huge success on Broadway, where it ran for over one year to sell-out performances. On stage, Adelaide Hall and Robinson danced and sang a duet together, which captivated the audiences. From then on, Robinson's public role was that of a dapper, smiling, plaid-suited ambassador to the white world, maintaining a connection with the black show-business circles through his continuing patronage of the Hoofers Cluban entertainer's haven in Harlem.
So successful was Adelaide Hall's collaboration with Bojangles, they even appeared together on stage at the prestigious Palace Theatre Broadway  before they were teamed up together again by Marty Forkins Robinson's manager  to star in another Broadway musical titled, "Brown Buddies",  that opened in at the Liberty Theatre, where it ran for four months before commencing a road tour of the States.Bill “Bojangles” Robinson As a child Robinson worked in racing stables, nursing a desire to become a jockey.
He danced for fun and for the entertainment of others, first appearing on stage at the age of eight. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who claimed he could run backward faster than most men could go forward, was the most famous of all African American tap dancers in the twentieth century.
The year was a memorable one for Jackie Robinson. On February 10 he married Rachel Isum, and they had their first child on November He signed with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Baseball League, in an era when professional baseball was racially segregated. This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the title Bill.
If an internal link led you here, you may wish to change the link to point directly to the intended article. President's Scrapbook Grade 1 Web Quest in which the president asks a class to compile a powerpoint scrapbook of the Famous Americans they are studying.
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