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Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, May 25, 1878-Nov. 25, 1949.
Excerpts from his entry in The Dictionary of American Biography:

"The publicity that gradually came to surround him included the creation of his famous "stair dance," his successful gambling exploits, his prodigious charity, his ability to run backward at great speed and to consume ice cream by the quart, his argot--most notably the neologism "copasetic" --and such stunts as dancing down Broadway in 1939 from Columbus Circle to 44th Street in celebration of his sixty-first birthday.
"...blacks and whites developed differing opinions of him. To whites, for example, his nickname "Bojangles" meant happy-go-lucky, while the black variety artist Tom Fletcher claimed it was slang for "squabbler."
"Robinson died of a chronic heart condition,...His body lay in state at an armory in Harlem, schools were closed, thousands lined the streets waiting for a glimpse of his bier, and he was eulogized by politicians, black and white--perhaps more lavishly than any other Afro-American of his time."

Many of us know the name from the famed 1968 song by Jerry Jeff Walker, "Mr. Bo Jangles (Bojangles)." And the roles Robinson often played in films, as the head of staff for ante-bellum estates, particularly in the Shirley Temple movies.

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