"I have always worked just as hard when there were ten people in the house as when there were thousands"

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson was born in Richmond and raised in its neighborhood of Jackson Ward. An American tap dancer and actor, he is the best known and most highly paid African American entertainer in the first half of the twentieth century. Born with the name Luther, he "bullied" his brother to switch names as he didn't like his own, and he was given the nickname "Bojangles" because of his "contentious" tendencies as a youth. His signature routine was the stair dance, in which Robinson would tap up and down a set of stairs in a rhythmically complex sequence of steps, a routine he unsuccessfully attempted to patent.  Robinson is also credited with having introduced the word copacetic into popluar culture due to his repated use of it in vaudeville and radio appearances.  Despite being the highest paid black performer of the era, Robinson died penniless in 1949, and his funeral was paid for by longtime friend Ed Sullivan.  A statue in Robinson's honor is in Jackson Ward in Richmond.

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