Bessie Smith House

At the time of her death, Bessie Smith, “Empress of the Blues,” lived in a three-story rowhouse in South Philly.

Bessie Smith House Collage2

Her funeral was held on October 4, 1937.

Bessie Smith2

The funeral was moved from Upshur’s Funeral Home to O.V. Catto Elks Lodge to accommodate the 30,000 mourners who filed pass her coffin.

bessie-smith-funeral-procession-e1426130630576

Bessie’s casket was taken on a slow tour of her South Philly neighborhood, briefly stopping at the Standard Theater where she regularly performed.

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