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Etta Moten Barnett

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Information about Etta Moten Barnett

Profile image of Etta Moten Barnett

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer
Community Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/5/1901
Birth Location:
Weimar, Texas

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer
Community Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/5/1901
Birth Location:
Weimar
See how Etta Moten Barnett is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Singer and community leader Etta Moten Barnett was born on November 5th, 1901, in Weimar, Texas, the only daughter of Reverend Freeman F. Moten and Ida Norman Moten. Before attending the University of Kansas Etta Moten married Lieutenant Curtis Brooks and they had three children. Unhappy in her marriage Moten chose to attended college and divorce her husband, while caring for her children on the weekends.

After her graduation from the University of Kansas, Etta Moten set out for New York City and more specifically, Broadway. She went on to achieve stardom in the theater, performing in legendary Broadway productions of Sugar Hill, Lysistrata and Porgy and Bess, joining the ranks of African America's most elite talent. Etta Moten also appeared in many films including Flying Down to Rio, with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

In 1934 Etta Moten married Claude Barnett, founder of the Negro Associated Press. Their marriage also represented a change in the scope of Barnett's influence. Barnett and her husband began to focus on more philanthropic efforts. Together they enjoyed a special bond, traveling during the late 1950s as members of a U.S. delegation to Ghana. She also represented the United States at the independence ceremonies of Nigeria, Zambia and Lusaka. After her husband's death in 1967, Etta Moten Barnett became more active in domestic affairs, including working with the Chicago's DuSable Museum and Lyric Opera. Her many distinctions included honorary degrees from Spelman College, Lincoln University and the University of Illinois; an award for her Contributions to American Music by Atlanta University; and the establishment of a scholarship in her name for minority students at the Chicago Academy for the Performing Arts.

Barnett passed away on January 2, 2004 at age 102.

See how Etta Moten Barnett is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Etta Moten Barnett interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Etta Moten Barnett talks about her parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Etta Moten Barnett talks about her grandparents origins
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Etta Moten Barnett talks more about her grandparents' origins
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Etta Moten Barnett recalls her favorite childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Etta Moten Barnett talks about her early talent for singing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Etta Moten Barnett recalls her childhood and her early music career with the Jackson Jubilee Singers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Etta Moten Barnett talks more about the Jackson Jubilee Singers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Etta Moten Barnett recalls the United States' bad impression of Africa
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Etta Moten Barnett recalls her first marriage and her experiences at the University of Kansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Etta Moten Barnett talks about her experiences at the University of Kansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Etta Moten Barnett recalls her first teaching job
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Etta Moten Barnett talks about her move to New York and her first acting jobs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Etta Moten Barnett recalls her courtship with Claude Barnett
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Etta Moten Barnett talks about meeting Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Etta Moten Barnett recalls famous black leaders and her role in 'Porgy and Bess'
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Etta Moten Barnett talks about her singing career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Etta Moten Barnett recalls her life with Claude Barnett
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Etta Moten Barnett talks about her husband Claude Barnett and his journeys to Africa
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Etta Moten Barnett recalls why she feels the arts are important to society
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Etta Moten Barnett talks about her views on the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Etta Moten Barnett talks about the importance of black history and her legacy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Etta Moten Barnett refuses to sing a song
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Etta Moten Barnett talks about her father's college diploma and prepares to talk about her other photos
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett as the Carioca Singer from the movie 'Flying Down to Rio,' 1933
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett as "Bess" in George Gershwin's stage version of 'Porgy and Bess,' 1940s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett with her daughters, Sue Brooks-Ish and Etta Vee Brooks-Traylor, ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett's grandfather Moten, 1800s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett and her family at her granddaughter Etta Sue Ish's christening, 1951
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Photo - Color photo of Etta Moten Barnett, ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Photo - Black-and-white photo of Etta Moten Barnett, ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett and Claude Barnett, 1930s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett outside her Bronzeville home, Chicago, Illinois, 1985. Photo by Judith Sedwick
  • Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett's father, Rev. Freeman Franklin Moten
  • Tape: 3 Story: 17 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett's mother, Ida Mae Norman Moten
  • Tape: 3 Story: 18 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett with a cheetah, Africa, 1960s. Photo by Moneta Sleet for 'Jet' magazine
  • Tape: 3 Story: 19 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett in a pose, 1920s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 20 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett in New York, 1920
  • Tape: 3 Story: 21 - Photo - Advertisement in 'Musical Courier' for Etta Moten Barnett's concert at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois, February 7, 1949
  • Tape: 3 Story: 22 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett, 1982. Photo by James VanDerZee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 23 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett's husband, Claude Barnett, founder of the Associated Negro Press, 1940s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 24 - Photo - Etta Moten Barnett and her parents, Rev. Freeman Franklin Moten and Ida Mae Norman Moten, Los Angeles, California, September 15, 1915
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sue Ish talks about memories of her mother, Etta Moten Barnett
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sue Ish reflects on being raised by her grandparents and their response to her mother's career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sue Ish talks about the racism her mother encountered while on tour with 'Porgy and Bess'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sue Ish recalls stories of her great-grandparents, the Motens
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sue Ish talks about her grandmother's personality and her mother's advice to her regarding religion
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sue Ish talks about her mother's voice and life with her step-father, Claude Barnett
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sue Ish talks about her mother's role in the entertainment world
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sue Ish recalls her mother's theatrical roles and trips to Africa with her husband, Claude Barnett
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sue Ish talks about the Associated Negro Press and its demise after her father's death
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sue Ish reflects on her mother, Etta Moten Barnett's legacy