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Washington, Dinahlocked

(? Aug. 1924–14 December 1963)
  • André Barbera

Extract

Washington, Dinah (? Aug. 1924–14 December 1963), singer, was born Ruth Lee Jones in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the daughter of Ollie Jones, a gambler, and Alice Williams, a domestic. In 1928 her family moved to Chicago. As a teenager Washington achieved local fame as a gospel pianist and singer at St. Luke’s Baptist Church. At age fifteen she won a talent contest at the Regal Theater and soon after was hired by Sallie Martin to accompany her gospel singers on the piano. At age seventeen Washington married John Young, the first of her eight, more or less legal, husbands. She was the mother of two children, the older fathered by her second husband, George Jenkins (married 1946), and the younger by her third husband, Robert Grayson (married 1947). Her last husband, Dick “Night Train” Lane (married 1963), was a professional football player....

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