Barbara Cohen-Stratyner
Judy R. and Alfred A. Rosenberg Curator of Exhibitions, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

In October, 1926, veteran columnist Lester A. Walton needed to inform his NY Age readers that the "Black Bottom" was gaining on "The Charleston" in popularity. He didn't discuss sheet music or record sales. He wrote: "Judging from the number of performers learning the dance at Billy Pierce's school of instruction in 46th Street, musical comedy and vaudeville patrons are to surfeited with the Black Bottom for more to come." Billy Pierce was the missing link between the innovations in dance and music of Black songwriters and the Broadway performers who copied them, And transmitted them to the public. He was a successful business, a creative dance master, and an entertainment and informative columnist who covered the HArlem Renaissance for the Chicago Defender.

For years, I have urged dance historians and graduate students to look at Pierce and his colleague/employee Buddy Bradley. So I was thrilled when the Dance Division forwarded a reference e-mail from LEmoine Pierce about her research project. We were able to help her with some entertainment industry details and followed with pleasure her progress. Her monograph on Pierce is an excellent work, explaining how his upbringing in Leesburg gave attention and is lucky in his biographer.