Bill “Bojangles” Robinson was born May 25, 1878 – died November 25, 1949. Robinson was a pioneer and pre-eminent African-American tap dance performer. Born in Richmond, Virginia on May 25, 1878, to Maxwell Robinson, a machine-shop worker, and Maria Robinson, a choir singer, Bill Robinson was brought up by his grandmother after the death of his parents when he was still a baby.  In 1891, at the ripe age of 12, he joined a traveling company in The South Before the War, and in 1905 worked with George Cooper as a vaudeville team. He gained great success as a nightclub and musical comedy performer, and during the next 25 years became one of the toasts of Broadway. Not until he was 50 did he dance for white audiences, having devoted his early career exclusively to appearances on the black theater circuit. The publicity that gradually came to surround him included the creation of his famous “stair dance” (which he claimed to have invented on the spur of the moment when he was receiving some honor–he could never remember exactly what– from the King of England. The King was standing at the top of a flight of stairs, and Bojangles’ feet just danced up to be honored), his successful gambling exploits, his bow ties of multiple colors, his prodigious charity, his ability to run backward (he set a world’s record of 8.2 seconds for the 75-yard backward dash) and to consume ice-cream by the quart, his argot–most notably the neologism copacetic–and such stunts as dancing down Broadway in 1939 from Columbus Circle to 44th St. in celebration of his 61st birthday.


Original Bill Robinson “Bojangles” Autographed Photo. Written on the photo is: To – Frank Tricker with very best wishes Bill Robinson. Dated 1933. (Frank Tricker was my father). 8 x 10 black and white photo. Regular Price – $ 6000.00 / Sale Price – $ 999.00.

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