Fredi Washington

Actress + Activist
Born Dec 23, 1903

Fredericka Carolyn "Fredi" Washington was an accomplished dramatic film actress, most active in the 1920s- 1930s. Fredi was a self-proclaimed Black woman, who chose to be identified as such, and wished for others to do so as well. Because of her features, and because she didn't fit people's stereotypical views of what black is supposed to look like, she faced limited acting opportunities for being "too light or not black enough.… Read More

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Browse recent news and stories about Fredi Washington.

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Fredi Washington.


1903 Birth Fredi Washington was born in 1903 in Savannah, Georgia to Robert T. Washington, a postal worker, and Harriet Walker Ward, a former dancer. … Read More


1921 17 Years Old Fredi's performing career began in 1921, when she got a chance to work in New York City, where she was living with her grandmother and aunt. … Read More


1926 22 Years Old In 1926, Washington was recommended for a co-starring role on the Broadway stage with Paul Robeson in Black Boy. … Read More


1934 30 Years Old 1 More Event
Her best-known role was in the 1934 movie Imitation of Life; Washington played a young mulatto who chose to pass as white to seek more opportunities in a society restricted by legal racial segregation in some states and social discrimination in others. … Read More
1937 33 Years Old In an effort to help other black actors and actresses to find more opportunities, she founded the Negro Actors Guild in 1937; the organization's mission included speaking out against stereotyping and advocating for a wider range of roles. … Read More
1943 39 Years Old Washington had an important dramatic role in a 1943 radio tribute to black women, Heroines in Bronze, produced by the National Urban League. … Read More


1945 41 Years Old In 1945 she said: … Read More
1952 48 Years Old …  She also consulted on casting for George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, an opera performed in revival on Broadway in 1952, and filmed in 1959. … Read More


1994 91 Years Old Washington died after a series of strokes on June 28, 1994 in Stamford, Connecticut, aged 90. … Read More
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