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Lena Horne was born on June 30 1917 in Brooklyn New York Her parents were Teddy and Edna Scottron Horne After her father left her at the age of two in order to pursue his gambling career her mother leaving soon after that to pursue her acting career she went to live with her grandparents Through her grandparents influence she became involved with organizations like the NAACP at an early ageIn 1924 she went back to live with her mother traveling and being schooled all over the state until she was fourteen At the age of fourteen she decided to drop out of school and go to work Because she was talented and light skinned it was not hard for her to find a job She became a chorus girl in Harlems Cotton Club where blacks entertained a strictly all white crowd At that time she was making about 25 a week It was here that Lena got to meet and observe now famous artists such as Duke Ellington Cab Calloway Count Basie Ethal Waters and Billie Holiday At the age of nineteen she met and married Louis Jones Together they had two children Gail and Teddy who later died in 1970 from kidney failure While trying to get used to raising a family and having a career she received a call from an agent who had seen her at the Cotton Club about a part in a movie Her controlling husband allowed her to be in The Duke is Tops and also the musical revue Blackbirds of 1939 When she finally got up the courage to leave Louis he deiced to take her son away from her She lost custody of Teddy when the divorce was final and has always regretted not fighting harder for her son After her divorce she began singing with Noble Sissies Society Orchestra Through out their tour she had to endure harsh racism having to sleep in tenement
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