Culture, Tzippi's News

100 year old recording of Black Yiddish Cantors makes Black Jewish History

Early 1920s newspaper ads for the blockbuster New York Yiddish stage shows Dos Khupe Kleyd (The Wedding Dress) and Yente Telebende (Loquacious Battle‐Ax), featured a Black artist among the spotlighted performers. This was Thomas LaRue, a Yiddish-speaking singer widely known in the interwar period as der schvartzer khazan (The Black Cantor).

Although long-forgotten now, LaRue (who sometimes used the surname Jones) was among the favorites of Yiddish theater and cantorial music. Reportedly raised in Newark, New Jersey, by a single mother who was drawn to Judaism, he even drew interest from beyond the US.

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