Remembering Ada Overton Walker, Known As the ‘Queen Of The Cakewalk’ During Early 1900s



Ada Overton Walker was dubbed “The Queen of the Cakewalk” for her sense of style and moves on the dance floor. Walker was the wife of vaudevillian George Walker and an African-American vaudevillian. Her husband and she appeared in several shows with their partner Bert Williams.


Walker was born in Richmond, Virginia on February 14, 1880. She later moved to New York City with her family, where she received formal education and musical training. She began her career in the “Black Patti’s Troubadours” music chorus in the late 1880s.
She rose to national prominence in the early 1900s when she appeared in the play “Sons of Ham” as “Miss Hannah from Savannah.” She became an international star after giving one of the best performances ever seen at Buckingham Palace in 1903.

Walker had been in the business for decades and was well-known throughout the country for her stellar performances. She was well aware of how women’s roles influenced race relations at the time, and she worked hard to dispel stereotypes of black women in entertainment, who were frequently viewed as being oversexed and lacking morals.

Walker went on to start her own business after her husband died. She rose to prominence after performing “Salamone” at Hammerstein’s Victoria Theater. Walker’s singing and dancing abilities were compared to Florence Mills and Josephine Baker. Walker passed away on October 11, 1914.


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