Our Georgia History

Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey
April 26, 1886 Blues singer "Ma" Rainey born, Columbus
  Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey
  Columbus, Georgia
December 22, 1939 Blues singer "Ma" Rainey dies, Columbus
  Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey
  Columbus, Georgia

Born into a family of performers she entered show business in 1900, working in vaudeville in a seedy section of Atlanta near Sweet Auburn. Decatur Street, at that time, was considered a "street of shame," with prostitutes, cheap liquor and blues. It was here that she met "Georgia Tom" Dorsey, a Villa Rica born pianist, and Hudson "Tampa Red" Whittaker, who would later team with her repeatedly. In 1902 she married "Pa" Rainey, eventually signing a contract with Paramount, who billed her as the "Mother of the Blues." Ironically, by this time she had divorced "Pa" Rainey. Recording more than a hundred tracks in less than 5 years, Rainey invested her money in various businesses in Georgia. After her career ended, she returned to Georgia to manage these endeavors. She died of a heart attack.

Return to Index

FrontHistory 101Early GeorgiaAmerican IndiansSearch

Golden Ink
Georgia's innovative design group

Legal Notice
Privacy Policy