If you are a copyright owner and believe that your copyrighted works have been used in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, here is our DMCA Notice.

« 365 Days #238 - Leona Anderson - Music To Suffer By (mp3s) | Main | Kazutoki Umezu & Tom Cora (MP3s) »

August 26, 2007


Listener Frank

Great article, as usual. However, Robert A. Taft never served as Ohio governor.


An extraordinary post, both in breadth and depth of information. I enjoyed especially the chronological approach and placing Moms life in an historical context. Many great references here as well. Inspirational. Hypertext succeeding as it ought to more often....thanks.


This made me think of the other Franklin: http://youtube.com/watch?v=iTeK-kREZuM


This is a wonderful, wonderful post. Although I was interupted a number of times by my kids, cooking meals, making coffee, etc, I read the whole thing and I was fascinated by every word. I knew almost nothing about Moms Mably before I read this. Now I know a lot and I want to learn more! I can't wait to listen to the footage. Thank you for giving Moms the research and respect she clearly deserved. Fantastic.



This is a wonderful, wonderful post. Although I was interupted a number of times by my kids, cooking meals, making coffee, etc, I read the whole thing and I was fascinated by every word. I knew almost nothing about Moms Mably before I read this. Now I know a lot and I want to learn more! I can't wait to listen to the footage. Thank you for giving Moms the research and respect she clearly deserved. Fantastic.


Tony H

What an amazing post. My whole life, I've seen middle-aged-and-older comics' faces light up at the mention of Moms' name, and this gives a hint as to why. Thanks so much, Listener Kliph.


"Notable Black artists such as Richard Wright and Paul Robeson would dismiss Zora Neale Hurston as an enemy of her people."

No mention of where Wright and Robeson landed on the political side of the spectrum. No matter, [i]surely[/i] they were politically right down the middle in their day and would be objective towards people to the right like Hurston.

Please don't smear!

Richard Brandt

Robeson was hardly a "right down the middle" kind of guy.

I don't mean to imply "Amazing Grace" is a great movie, but it really is about sticking it to The Man, don't you know.

Listener Kliph

Conrad, Wright and Robeson were both socialists - a concept that certainly may have been less extreme - and certainly more popular in nineteen thirties America than today, but I think it's safe to say they were both far to the left of Hurston. I think it is also safe to say that Hurston was far to the right of the average artist during the renaissance. Anyway, Wright went on the record speaking out against Hurston's politics more than once.

Vic Perry

I too would ask that whatever bandwagon gets loaded up here to roll over Zora Neale Hurston gets dismantled right quick. There seems to be a damn epidemic of second guessing every great writer in American history on a totally political basis - and I mean writers on the right, left, center, backfield, basement, closet and sky. And I guess everybody must have been wrong, too, because we're so freaking brilliant. Condoleeza Rice. Get fucking serious. And I'll take it back when Condoleeza Rice writes a book as great as Their Eyes Were Watching God, or too hard, how about when she shows like a tenth of a percent of the empathy and insight displayed in that novel.


Intellectual flogging in the comments aside, thank you for this fascinating and illuminating post. It comes as no surprise to me that Moms would turn up on the WFMU radar. I enjoyed reading this and can't wait to listen.


Brilliant article. Thank you!

Wanda Sykes, if you're out there, what are you waiting for? You are one of the few writers out there who could burn this thing down the right way, and give Moms her props.


It always amazes me that people always want to paint Black life as poor and downtrodden. Moms Mabley was actually born to a very prominent strongly Christian family in Brevard, North Carolina. Her father, James P. Aiken was the son of a slave woman Jane Rhodes Aiken and her white master. He was born in 1861 during slavery. Moms mother was Mary Smith Aiken. The family ran several profitable businesses in Brevard. Her father was a well liked and well known citizen serving on the board of the local Rosenwald Colored School and also worked as a volunteer fireman. Unfortunately, James was killed in 1909 when he was thrown from a firetruck. He was mourned by the entire community both Black and white. Mary carried on the family business after James was killed and later married George Parton and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Moms Mabley later joined her mother in Cleveland and began her stage career. Her family was much opposed to this given the negative image "show people" had in that day.


In Studs Terkel's book "The Spectator," Moms Mabley told Turkel that her biological father was a white man named Lawyer Duckworth who owned a barbershop and hardware business in Brevard, NC.

Lew Adams

Thank you for posting this Kliph, I really appreciate all your knowledge on black comedians. Please don't stop spreading your wealth of knowledge on the subject.


I have been informed about Ms. Mabley on yesterday and I can't seem to stop looking up information on this wonderful human being. I wish I had gotten to know her. I have never seen anything written about one person from so many white persons. She seems to have made it in this type of business. We fail to miss the fact that even then during her young life that the white man seem to think (police) to take what they want regardless of age or respect a person and that also goes for the black man as well.

Loria A. Clark

This is the first time that I have visited this web site. My father told me to look up Loretta Aiken on the internet because she is a distant cousin of ours. His last name is Aiken and he has been educating me about our family history and heritage. I am so excited to read this information and to share it with my three young daughters ages 8, 7 and 3. He also informed me of another famous cousin of whom I also have began to research. Her name is Sister Rosetta Thorpe, the gospel singing guitarist. I have a lot of work to do to trace my lineage and heritage to share with my girls. Thank you for this beautiful website.

Scott Levine

Thank you for this post it was great. I really, really, enjoyed it. Great reading. I have only seen MOM'S a couple of times on tv when i was a kid. I have always liked her. She is very funny.


Does anyone know the name of the song or skit Moms Mabley had when she talked about the dream of a southern govenor. It was about blacks in the white house or something like that. Anyone???


The song/skit is part of her comedy recording "Moms Mabley At Geneva Conference." I don't know the exact title for certain. It was something like "Nightmare of a Southern Governor." I used to listen to it nearly 40 years ago (which is why I am a little fuzzy on the title.) It is available now on CD; the cheapest price I found including shipping was at Amazon.com. (You can also try Laugh.com.)

Moms ( Too!)

I wish Whoopie Goldberg would do her Moms Mabley show again. She was hilarious, got it just right. She paid a great tribute to Moms.

marlene johnson

I wish i could have meet her

Stefan Wheeler

Iam the great grandson of "Moms", I just happen to come across this site, and I most say it's one of the most imforminting I have found on my great grand mother. Great job.

Sidney S. Graubard

Dear Stefan Wheeler,

I had the pleasure of being "Moms" escort when she recorded her Mercury (1970) Record "Live at Sing Sing." I was going to introduce her, however it was thought it would be better if a Black Officer introduced her. This officer Henry Garvin, appears on the cover of the record jacket. I appear in a few pictures on the back of the record cover. It is I who was placing the handcuffs on her. We had a lot of fun that day. She was a very fine person and I think of her often.

Sid Graubard
Retired NYS Department of Correctional Services

Jim Vermilya

Dear Kliph Nesteroff,

I am doing a report on Moms for a humanities class and would love to cite this great page, however I am a bit apprehensive as there is no bibliography included. Is there any chance you could post one or e-mail me at my member address? I am contacting you through the blog as the e-mail link on your profile page is shut down, at leat from this locale.


Jim Vermilya

The comments to this entry are closed.