A collection of biographical stories and poems about fascinating people in history whose real dreams made a real difference. Developed in performance, these stories bring old tales to life for contemporary readers in a way that is both entertaining and informative.
Martha Cinader, a published writer and recording artist, has shared stories and poetry with audiences in libraries, schools and nightclubs and at jazz and theatre festivals in America and Europe.
Currently living in Greenville SC, with her husband and three sons, she blogs about being a virgin homesteader, among other things. Her forthcoming novel, Marvelina, is a fairytale for grown women.
When she was young Josephine Baker's family called her Tumpy. The sometimes brutal experiences of her childhood shaped her life-long struggle against injustice. After becoming famous in Europe she was reluctant to return to America. But when she did, she insisted on change. There are many performers even today who would jump at the chance to make $10,000 a week to perform in any nightclub. But she was able to make a change by refusing to appear unless her conditions were agreed to.
They were sitting in a Cuban cafe one day, sipping cafe con leché, and basking in the warmth and admiration of the Cuban people when a telegram arrived from America.
“Your show is the best of its kind I’ve ever seen. Please come to my club, The Copa in Miami. Mr. Ned.”
“What sort of place is this Copa City?” Tumpy asked the messenger.
“Only the most posh, the most elegant club you could ever imagine.”
“Do they admit people of color?”
“Of course not.”
“Then I couldn’t possibly appear there.”
Mr. Ned flew to Cuba the next day to try to personally persuade her to appear in his club. He took her out to dinner, ordered champagne, spoke to her with his utmost charm and offered her ten thousand dollars a week to appear in his club. Little Tumpy refused.
Mr. Ned almost choked on his pheasant bone, and her husband gulped down his mouthful of champagne and reminded her they were going to need money for their seat of world brotherhood.
Mr. Ned bought her a beautiful monkey because he knew that she loved all sorts of animals, but Tumpy would not be persuaded. Finally Mr. Ned looked deep down into his heart. He knew that no matter what the circumstances he would make money on this very special woman. He finally offered Little Tumpy a contract stating that everyone would be admitted and permitted to sit wherever they chose. Little Tumpy signed the contract.
On opening night they had to turn away as many people as they let in. The press picked up on the story and soon the whole country knew about how Little Tumpy had brought together the brothers and sisters of Miami and whipped them all into a frenzy of love and admiration. The box office figures were very impressive and soon Little Tumpy launched a national tour. Every club where she appeared picked up on their cues and changed their policies.