Groundbreaking Lena Horne Dead at 92
'Stormy Weather' great broke ground for African Americans
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2010 5:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Lena Horne, the legendary singer who broke new ground for African-Americans in Hollywood, has died at the age of 92. Best known for the song "Stormy Weather," the jazz vocalist won accolades as a cabaret and Broadway performer. Horne got her start in 1933 as a teenage chorus girl at the legendary Cotton Club in Harlem; she was such a sensation that she later became the first African-American signed to long-term Hollywood contract, the LA Times reports.

Refusing to play the maid and other stereotypical roles commonly available to black women at the time, Horne appeared in Hollywood movies of the '40s mostly in nonspeaking roles as a singer. She became active in the civil rights movement in the '60s, and performed on Broadway into the '80s. "My life has been about surviving," Horne once said. "Along the way I also became an artist. It's been an interesting journey. One in which music became first my refuge and then my salvation."