Brevard, NC will honor Jackie “Moms” Mabley with the installation of a historical marker on Friday, October 20, 2023.
The dedication will be held at 5 p.m. at Clemson Plaza, just a quarter mile down the road from Mabley’s childhood home, and will include remarks from local Brevard residents. Following the remarks and unveiling of the sign, there will be a screening of a short film at the Mary C. Jenkins Community Center.
Born Loretta Aiken in 1894, “Moms” Mabley was a Black comedian as well as a social and civil rights activist. Often referred to as “the funniest woman in the world,” Jackie “Moms” Mabley revolutionized entertainment as one of the founders of stand-up comedy in the United States.
Mabley was a trailblazer whose career as the first female African American stand-up comedian spanned six decades. Moms appealed to a broad audience with her captivating storytelling. She also challenged societal norms with her approachable and clever social satire, using her non-threatening stage persona to discuss topics that other comics at the time wouldn’t—politics, racism, sexism, agism, and female sexuality.
Mabley, the granddaughter of a former slave, left home as a teenager and joined a minstrel show based in Pittsburgh, beginning a 60-year career that included work in everything from African American vaudeville to Broadway to television and the movies. Mabley also released of more than 20 comedy albums during her lifetime.
The marker will be installed on W. Main Street at Caldwell Street in Brevard, NC. The Mary C. Jenkins Community Center is located at 221 Mills Avenue in Brevard, NC.