Pontotoc city street to honor Ruby Elzy

By The Associated Press

PONTOTOC — The city of Pontotoc will rename a portion of North College Street in honor of Pontotoc native Ruby Elzy.

Elzy was a pioneer black opera singer who appeared on stage, radio and film. A native of Pontotoc, Elzy created the role of Serena in George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” on Broadway in 1935. She made her film debut opposite Paul Robeson in 1933’s “The Emperor Jones” while still a student at New York’s Juilliard School.

Elzy entertained at the White House in 1937 for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and others.

She was one of the first inductees to the Mississippi Music Hall of Fame.

Elzy died in 1943 in Detroit at the age of 35 during an operation to remove a benign tumor.

Elzy is buried in Pontotoc City Cemetery.

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