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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson

 
 
Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 2, 2021
1. Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson Marker
Inscription.  Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson (1878-1949) was a well known tap dancer from the early 1900's to the late 1940's. He performed in theaters on Broadway and throughout the United States and Europe, and starred in several Hollywood made movies. Dance critics referred to him as the "Master of Tap Dancing."

Bill Robinson resided at the Dunbar Apartments located across West 150th Street. In 1934, he arranged to have this site developed as a public playground. Throughout his life he gave generous donations to and made personal appearances for charity causes in Harlem and many United States cities.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicCharity & Public WorkParks & Recreational Areas.
 
Location. 40° 49.515′ N, 73° 56.249′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on West 150th Street west of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 269 West 150th Street, New York NY 10039, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance

Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson Marker - wide view image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 2, 2021
2. Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson Marker - wide view
(Note the mapped out dance steps visible in the lower right corner. Not many markers come equipped with those....)
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of this marker. Holcombe Rucker Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); Greg Marius Court (approx. 0.3 miles away); Sugar Hill Luminaries Lawn (approx. 0.4 miles away); Polo Grounds (approx. half a mile away); Alexander Hamilton's House (approx. half a mile away); "Pete" Sheehy (approx. half a mile away); The John T. Brush Stairway (approx. half a mile away); Middle Redoubt of the American Army   1776 (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
More about this marker. The marker and mural are located at the Bill "Bojangles" Robinson Playground.
 
Also see . . .
1. Little Colonel Bojangles Dance (YouTube, 3 min., colorized). Bill "Bojangles" Robinson teaches Shirley Temple his signature stair dance in this scene from The Little Colonel (1935). (Submitted on May 4, 2021.) 

2. Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, 1878 – 1949 (Harlem World, April 23, 2018). "In 1908 in Chicago, he met Marty Forkins, who became his lifelong manager. Under Forkins’ tutelage, Robinson matured and began working as a solo act in nightclubs, increasing his earnings to an estimated $3500 per week. 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.
<i>Bill Robinson (Bojangles) starred in Blackbirds of 1928</i> image. Click for full size.
Vandamm Studios (courtesy of New York Public Library), 1928
3. Bill Robinson (Bojangles) starred in Blackbirds of 1928
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." (Submitted on May 4, 2021.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 4, 2021, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 32 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 4, 2021, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.

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May. 7, 2021