Make Black History Personal: #3 My Dad and the Amazing Lena Horne

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of the beautiful, elegant singer, actress and civil rights activist, Lena Horne. When I was a teenager in the 1960’s, she came to my hometown of Detroit for a performance.


Sometime earlier that day, she came down with a bad cold or the flu. The downtown hotel where she was staying needed a doctor to see her asap. I’m proud that out of all of the doctors in Detroit, Black, White or otherwise, they called my physician father and asked if he would rush over for a house call. He said “yes”.

I begged my father to let me go with him. I’d promised the world – great grades, listening to my mom without rolling my eyes or talking back, anything that my father would think was good enough reason to let me come to meet the amazing Lena Horne. Of course, consummate doctor he was, the answer was an emphatic


Instead of seeing her in person, I had to be content with the fact that Ms. Horne was feeling much better by curtain call. She went on to give a great performance that night, thanks to the timely medical care by a wonderful doctor in Detroit who I called “Dad”.

Here’s the amazing Lena Horne and her signature song  –

How can you make Black history personal this month?

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2 responses to Make Black History Personal: #3 My Dad and the Amazing Lena Horne

  1. Melissa Bihl says:

    Beautiful post, Karen. I can just see a little version of yourself, begging and pleading to meet Lena Horne. My cousin sings this song and it’s one of my faves. Every time I visit, I ask her to sing it to me. Loving these posts!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for stopping by Melissa and for the feedback! And you have me pegged – I did really want to meet Lena Horne. But I also understood my dad’s professionalism as a doctor. You’re lucky to have someone who can sing this great song:)

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