S is for the Sweethearts Of Rhythm (aka The International Sweethearts Of Rhythm). The Sweethearts were the first integrated, all women’s band in the United States. They started out as an all female, all African American band at Piney Woods Country Life School in the 1920s. They were called The Swinging Rays Of Rhythm and they toured to raise money to support the school. In 1941 several of the band’s members fled from the tour bus when they learned that they would not graduate because their busy touring schedule had not allowed enough time for them to complete their academic studies. They formed an independent band, added musicians from other ethnic groups and changed their name to The International Sweethearts of Rhythm. The band folded in 1949 when its most popular member Eleanor “Tiny” Davis became unable to tour with the group. Here they are in a soundie performing the song “Jump Children”
It’s a shame that there no information about most of these women on the web. Most of them don’t have even basic Wikipedia stub articles. I’m to trying save a few trees by borrowing and not buying books, so I plan to go to my teeny tiny local library (which, by the way, does have it’s own Wikipedia page) and have them find me a book about the Sweethearts. I like to think that I’ll sign in to Wikipedia and at least start a page for the 15 unrepresented members, but I’ve met me so I know what I’m like. Still, I do hope someone out there will help these women earn their richly deserved place in free online encyclopedia history!