Famous African American Entertainers from South Carolina | Carolina Snaps


There are many well-known African American entertainers from South Carolina, who made history.  Let’s find out about a few:

  • Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates worked as a child laborer in a cotton mill, where he lost his leg. This didn’t stop the Fountain Inn native from establishing a successful career as a tap dancer on Broadway.  He appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show at least twenty-two times. 
  • Dizzy Gillespie, a Cheraw native, taught himself how to play the trumpet at age 12. He recorded his first music album at age 20.  His unique style played a key role in the rise of bebop and modern jazz. 
  • Born in Orangeburg, Eartha Kitt had a tough time landing jobs due to her refusal to perform for segregated audiences. But she prevailed and went on to become well known for her song, “Santa Baby” and her role as Catwoman on TV’s Batman. 

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