I’ve just been reminded of this Shorpy photo (Cafe Society: 1941) by a friend on Faceplant, and it includes a list of black women drummers from this period:

Here’s a list of African American female drummers who may have worked during this time: Henrietta Fontaine, Hetty Smith, Mattie Watson, Helen Cole, Dez Thompson, Rae Scott, and Alma Hightower. I haven’t seen a photo of any of them to compare to the drummer pictured here.

They’re mentioned in the book “Swing Shift: All-Girl Bands of the 1940s” by Sherrie Tucker.



One Response to Black women drummers of the 1940s

  1. superheidi says:

    Good to know! Did they play in all female bands? Or did they mingle with the gents?

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