Who was Billie Holiday?

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Rebecca Hopkins                                                                June 7, 2004

Period 4                                                                Writing Workshop

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday was born in Baltimore, on April 7, 1915.  Her birth name was Eleanora Fagan Gough, but soon was known as Billie Holiday.  Her father, Clarence Holiday, was a jazz guitarist and banjo player, who played in Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra.  Billie’s parents were irresponsible teenagers when they had Billie which resulted in a very painful childhood. Billie Holiday once said to a friend, "Mom & Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen and I was three."

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Holiday was sent to Catholic reform school at the age of ten, after she admitted being raped.  She was supposed to stay there for many years but a friend got her out only after two years.  In New York, Holiday helped her mother with household work, but soon began working as a prostitute for the additional money.

Her big singing break came in 1933 when she auditioned for a dancing part at a speakeasy and a friend who was with her asked her if she could sing.  In fact, Holiday sang at clubs all over New York City as early ...

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