Brookland History Lives! Pearl Bailey House

by Shani on September 16, 2012

Pearl Bailey Brookland NE Washington DC

Pearl Bailey Album Cover

Pearl Bailey was a Tony and Grammy award winner, and a former Brookland resident. Bailey began her career in the 1930s by singing and dancing in Philadelphia’s Black nightclubs. Around this time, she lived in Brookland for a short stint. Along her path to success, she toured with the USO performing for American troops during World War II. In 1959, she played the role of Maria in the film version of Porgy and Bess, starring Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge. Bailey won her Tony award in 1968, as part of an all-black cast version of Hello, Dolly! with Cab Calloway. In 1975 President Ford appointed her as a special ambassador to the United Nations. In 1988 President Reagan awarded Bailey the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Pearl Bailey Washington

Peal Bailey House Today

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick September 16, 2012 at 11:55 am

Since I read earlier this year that Pearl Bailey once lived in Brookland I’ve often wondered where but never figured out the answe to my question. Until now. Thank!

P.S. My tenuous connection to Ms. Bailey: my godfather was married to her for four years.

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Shani September 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Wow Rick, that is so cool! When I was researching Mrs. Bailey for this post, I really grew fond of her. Like me, she was a huge Mets fan, even singing the National Anthem at Shea Stadium for a World Series game. She was really ahead of her time and one of a kind. I think it is so cool that she lived a mere few blocks from me, even if it was for just a few years.

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Rick September 17, 2012 at 7:10 am

I once road the elevator with her at Georgetown. I didn’t mention the godfather connection to her though because I didn’t know how things ended between them. She seemed like a very nice woman.

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