Roland Burrow

“Booker T.”

Oil on Canvas

32″ x 52″

Located at 2121 Market Street, the Booker-T Washington Theatre was one of St. Louis’s only African American theatre. It held concerts, plays, and vaudeville performances. The theatre was also owned by Tom Turpin, who also owned the Rosebud Cafe.

When Josephine Baker wrote her auto-biography she spoke of being a child in St. Louis. The downtown streets filled with culture and characters.

Josephine was born in 1906, and as a child she would gather with the other children of the neighborhood to preform. They other children would take everyday objects and use them as instruments and Josephine, 12 years old, would dance outside of the Booker-T, hoping to get noticed.

Josephine did this for a year or so, until she turned 13 and would leave St. Louis to join The Dixie Steppers at the national level.

This painting is part of a series that Roland is currently working on of historical St. Louis African American musical events that have long been forgotten. For more information please contact the gallery.

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