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In the year 2000, soprano Ruby Elzy was one of the first inductees into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. Sixty-five years earlier, she was chosen by George Gershwin to create the role of Serena in Porgy and Bess. Ruby appeared in feature films with Paul Robeson and Bing Crosby. She attended The Ohio State University and Juilliard School of Music and performed on Broadway, in Hollywood, and on national radio. Ruby would have been one of the first black artists to appear in grand opera had she lived beyond her 35 years.

The WOSU Stations would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Ruby’s exceptional talent, to outline her tragic yet inspiring story, and to provide a look at her life and times and a listen to some rare recordings of her haunting soprano voice.

For more information or to purchase David Weaver’s new biography, Black Diva of the Thirties: The Life of Ruby Elzy, visit University Press of Mississippi.