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Mount Lawn Cemetery
84th Street & Hook Rd., Sharon Hill, PA 19079 GET DIRECTIONS
Local: 610-586-8220
Bessie Smith (1894-1937), acclaimed as "one of the most important women in the history of American music" because of her pioneering blending of Western and African modes of music into blues-jazz, was buried here in an unmarked grave until, in August 1970, singer Janis Joplin and North Philadelphia NAACP President Juanita Green paid for and erected the current gravestone. Both Billie Holiday and Mahalia Jackson claim Smith as a mentor.
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