Dink Stewart: A Hoofer of Haunted Harlem

I have no idea how or why Dink Stewart wound up on my to do list, but the facts are these: African American performer Benjamin “Dink” Stewart (1877-1951), was born in Greenup County, Kentucky. He started out busking with his brother Alex on the streets of Cincinnati, then became a singing and dancing star of black vaudeville. I’ve found reviews of him performing in cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, and Baltimore in the teens and 20s of the last century. In 1917 he toured with a musical comedy called A Sultan for a Night, He was a member of The Dressing Room Club, and marched with them through the streets of Harlem in 1921.

And he was in two silent movies: The Sport of the Gods (1921), adapted from a Paul Laurence Dunbar novel, and Oscar Micheaux’s A Son of Satan: The Story of a Haunted House (1924). I’ve not been able to find photos of Stewart per se, though he may be one of the actors in the advertisement above for A Son of Satan. At any rate, it has a nice Halloween theme, in keeping with the season. In 1926 Stewart appeared in the Broadway show My Magnolia (1926) with Adelaide Hall, which only played 4 performances. His last years were spent in Chicago.

For more on vaudeville, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic comedy read  Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.