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Fredi Washington
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    (December 23, 1903-June 28, 1994)
    Birth name is Fredericka Carolyn Washington
    Acted in 'One Mile From Heaven (1937),' 'Ouanga (1936),' 'Mills Blue Rhythm Band (1934),' 'Emperor Jones (1933),' and 'Black & Tan (1929)'
    Best known for her role as Peola in 'Imitation of Life (1934)'
    She was hired by Josephine Baker at age 16 to be a cabaret dancer.
    She had an affair with Paul Robeson, who was married.
    She played a 19-year-old when she was 30.
    Despite having very fair skin, straight hair, and green eyes, Fredi refused to pass for white.
    Because she would not deny her true ethnicity, her acting career suffered greatly.
    Make-up was used to darken her skin for her role in 'Emperor Jones' so audiences would not think Paul Robeson was romancing a white woman.
    People pitied her as the 'tragic mulatto' because she was too light-skinned and beautiful to play the stereotypical black roles of the day. Because she was black, she was not allowed to play a white person.
    She was also an accomplished stage actress.
    She sang with Duke Ellington's band.

Credit: Carnal Carnivale

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