Aida Overton Walker (1880-1914)
Aida Overton Walker dazzled early-twentieth-century theater audiences with her original dance routines, her enchanting singing voice, and her penchant for elegant costumes. One of the premiere African American women artists of the turn of the century, she popularized the cakewalk and introduced it to English society.
In addition to her attractive stage persona and highly acclaimed performances, she won the hearts of black entertainers for numerous benefit performances near the end of her tragically short career and for her cultivation of younger women performers. She was, in the words of the New York Age’s Lester Walton, the exponent of “clean, refined artistic entertainment.”