Amazing Facts You Should Know About The Life Of Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La

Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La

Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La was a fantastic woman who lived an entire and influential life. She had humble beginnings, but her life was much more than that. She accomplished many great things, from writing music to singing at the White House for President Abraham Lincoln. Nowadays, she is known as the “Mother of Black Musical Theatre,” Her legacy continues to be celebrated by those who know her incredible life story. From her musical accomplishments to her charitable work, here are some facts about Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La that you should know!

Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La career

Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La was born in London, England, on March 3, 1867. Her father was the African-American violinist and composer Joseph C. Aldridge, and her mother was the English actress Harriet Mary Gascoyne-Cecil. La early life was spent between England and the United States; she received her education in both countries. In 1884, she married the American businessman Edward La Grange and moved to New York City.

La began her stage career in 1886, appearing in several Off-Broadway productions. She made her Broadway debut in 1890 in The City Directory. Over the next few years, she appeared in several successful Broadway productions, including Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1893) and The Clansman (1905).

In 1910, La made her film debut in The Green Goddess. She appeared in several other silent films, including The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916). In 1925, she starred in the first all-African-American cast film, Ebony Parade.

La career continued into the sound era; she appeared in such films as Hallelujah (1929), Emperor Jones (1933), Sanders of the River (1935), Dark Manhattan (1937), and Gone with the Wind (1939). She retired from acting in 1941.

La died on August 31, 1949, at

Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La later years

Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La later years were marked by several significant events. In 1874, she returned to the United States for a two-year stay. She toured with the family troupe during this time and gave highly successful concerts in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. During this trip, she also met and married her second husband, William E. La.

In 1876, Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La returned to England with her husband and their infant daughter, Amanda. The following year, she made her last public appearance at a concert in London. After that, she retired from the stage and devoted herself to her family and her music teaching career.

Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La died in London on July 26, 1889, at 54. Her legacy includes a work that influenced future generations of musicians and composers. She was posthumously inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1971.

Amanda Aldridge La Education

Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La was born in 1866 in Tennessee to both formerly enslaved parents. Her father, William Aldridge, worked as a sharecropper after the Civil War, and her mother, Martha, was a domestic worker. Amanda had seven brothers and sisters. The low-income family could not afford to send all their children to school, so Amanda only received a few years of formal education.

Despite her limited schooling, Amanda was a bright girl who loved learning. She taught herself to read and write and studied history and literature independently. In 1887, she married Joseph La, a businessman from New Orleans. The couple moved to London, where Amanda began working as a stage actress. She quickly became one of the most popular performers in the city.

In addition to her stage work, Amanda also wrote plays and taught drama classes. She continued to educate herself throughout her life, reading voraciously and expanding her knowledge on various subjects. 

Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La Early Life

Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La was born on February 12, 1867, in Norfolk, Virginia. She was the only child of Amanda Gertrude Davis and William Henry Aldridge. Her father worked as a shipyard clerk, and her mother was a domestic servant. La early life was spent between Norfolk and Portsmouth, where she attended local schools. In 1883, she graduated from high school and worked as a Norfolk teacher.

In 1885, La met James Francis Marion La Belle, an actor, and musician from New Orleans. The two married on October 6, 1886, and had three children: James Francis Marion Jr., Dorothy Amanda, and John William Henry. La Belle died in 1895, leaving La a widow at 28.

Despite this tragic event, La continued to pursue her passion for music and theater. She moved to New York City in 1896 and appeared in various stage productions. During this time, she changed her professional name to “Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La.” In 1899, she debuted on Broadway in the play “Sons of Guns.”

La career reached heights in the early 1900s when she began touring with world-renowned opera singer Enrico Caruso. The two toured Europe and South America for several years, performing to sold-out crowds everywhere they went. After Caruso died in 1921, La continued to perform on her own and also.


Although Amanda Aldridge Calhoun La may not be a household name, she had an incredible life and made immense contributions to the development of classical music in America. Her resilience and strength story should inspire us to never give up on our dreams. From her childhood finding solace in music to becoming the first black woman composer published in Europe, Amanda Aldridge’s journey reminds us that hard work and dedication make anything possible. We can only imagine what more she could have achieved given the opportunity; thankfully, we can see her accomplishments as a reminder of her greatness now and for future generations.



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