Brookland History Lives! Pearl Bailey House

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

4 thoughts on “Brookland History Lives! Pearl Bailey House”

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. I had the privilege to live in this home from 2004 to 2009 with my children and extended family that took care of the owner then. She was a retired PG County school teacher who was bed redden and was in the late stages of dimetria. This house was very large on the inside. It had 2 bedrooms a bathroom and kitchenette in the attic, 3 bedrooms and library, full size kitchen and bathroom on the 3rd level. Then on the entry level there was a living room dining room, a bedroom, bathroom and a large kitchen. What was interesting about the house was that there was a secret stairway from one of the back bedrooms on the 3rd level that lead to the large kitchen on the entry level.
    The house has now become a rooming house for Cathartic University student

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