When I started my collections I knew I had to name them; but what? After TV shows? Movies? Books? I knew I wanted women's names so I thought of what makes me happy, music.
Angelina is a Harry Belafonte song released in 1961 in his typical calypso style. If you don't know Harry Belafonte, you should. Born in 1927 in New York to Jamaican parents and educated in Jamaica he is an Activists, Singer, and Actor. His hit movie, Carmen Jones in 1954 whom he started with Dorothy Dandridge and Pearl Bailey. An all African American Cast in a movie musical based on an opera, a must see.
As for his music, just watch Beetlejuice that came out in 1988. Every song in the movie is a Harry Belafonte song.
And for activism, Harry Belafonte was a confidant of Martin Luther King Jr. and was an early civil rights supporter.
So not from a song but now living in West I thought it apropos to name a collection after the famed Annie Oakley. Born into a poor family, she began hunting and trapping at around the age of 7 or 8 to help feed her family. She also was able to sell some of the meat to local shopkeepers and restaurants for some money for the family. But during this time she was admitted to a local infirmary along with her sister due to her family's poor conditions. She was let to another family for 2 years at the age of 9 to cook, clean, and take care of their children on the promise of an education and a wage. She was endured mental and physical abuse beyond what anyone yet a child should go through. She escaped after 2 years. She resumed her hunting and trapping and was able to pay off her mother's mortgage on the her house by the time Annie was 15.
At 15 a traveling marksman by the name of Frank Butler came to town and a hotelier set up a match between him and Annie. After 25 rounds Annie won and the 2 starter courting and than married. In 1885 the 2 joined the Buffalo Bill Wild West show along with Sitting Bull . In her years, Annie taught of 15,000 women how to shoot wanting all women to learn how to protect themselves.
Bessie Smith is known as the Empress of Blues. Born in 1894 in Tennessee both her parents died when she was young. To survive, her sibling and she danced and sang on street corners for pennies.
In 1904 in oldest brother up and left and joined a traveling troupe. In 1912 he returned and arranged an audition for Bessie who was signed on as a dancer as the troupe already had a singer, Ma Rainey.
In 1913 she formed her own group and in 1923 she was signed by Columbia records where she recorded 130 tracks. She became the highest paid black entertainer of her day and her nickname of the Queen of the Blues was soon upgraded to the Empress of the Blues by the press.
The depression soon hit and took its toll on Bessie. She later died in 1937 in a car accident. In 2015 HBO did a movie about her life staring Queen Latifah.
Oh, this was an easy one to name. Named after the Great Dolly Parton and Hello Dolly. If you don't know Dolly Parton you must be living under a rock, she is a national treasure. Born to a poor family the 4th of 12 children in the Tennessee Mountains she always wanted to sing and be seen. And that she has. Not only a singer she has starred in movies such as 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias has been on made for TV movies such as A Coat of Many Colors which she had written a song about years before and has made sequels to this. She made an 8 part series on Netflix along with a Christmas movie. She has written children's books as well.
But not only that, she built Dollywood so people in her community would have jobs, she started a program where books were sent to children when they were born until a certain age. She has been an advocate of HIV AIDS research, she has given many generous donations for cancer research and COVID research. There is so much more but I can't write a Dolly Parton book.
As for Hello Dolly, if you haven't heard the song sung by Louis Armstrong released in 1964 I recommend it. First released by Carol Channing in 1963 as the star, Dolly Levi, when Hello Dolly hit Broadyway with a Bang. Based on Thornton Wilders 1938 farce the Merchant. The movie, of the same name, released in 1969 staring Barbara Streisand and Walter Mattheau is a great watch. Dolly is a single matchmaker trying to set-up an older shop owner only to find love herself. It has everything a musical could want.
Ok, yes maybe not another song but she has to be here. Eleanor Roosevelt. She is just bad ass. First lady from 1933-1945 she was the longest serving 1st lady in history. She discovered her husband having an affair and soon afterwards he no longer had the use of his legs (karma is a bitch) yet she stayed with him and persuaded him to keep up politics.
She was very vocal on Civil Rights, and was the 1st First Lady to hold press conferences daily. She wrote columns in the newspaper, and a magazine, had a radio show, and spoke at national party conventions.
During WWII she was very persuasive in getting African Americans and Women into the war efforts. She also made her husband open the boarders to as many refugees as possible. On her death bed it is said that her only regret is that they didn't allow more people in.
In 1946 Eleanor became the first chairperson of the preliminary United Nations Commission of Human Rights which she served until 1953 even after trying to step down in 1951. During her life she formed summer camps to bring children of different backgrounds together. In 1949 she was made a member of the historically black organization Alpha Kappa Alpha.
Again, books have been written about Eleanor Roosevelt. This woman was astonishing and a floral collection named after her is the least I could do to honor her.
Chuck Berry's Maybellene was a hit from the git go in 1955. This is one of my favorite songs. Chuck Berry is not known for his philanthropy or his humanitarian missions but he is one of the founders of Rock and Roll. One of the 1st to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and to have influenced singers like Elvis, who also has a version of Maybellene, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, ELO, Bowie, and many many more we can be forever grateful for his music.