Here are more of Ruby Smith's recollections of life on the road with Bessie Smith, her aunt by marriage. Please be forewarned that this segment get rather raunchy as Ruby uses explicit language and describes a sex act.
Since mainstream hotels did not open their rooms to black people, touring companies, like Bessie's either stayed on the train (if they owned the car) or at theatrical rooming houses, like Kate's, in Detroit. This extract begins at Kate's, where the show stayed while appearing at the Koppin Theater, and ends in the apartment of a friend of Bessie's in Cincinnati.
In a future segment, Ruby takes us back to Detroit and a buffet flat. Don't know what a buffet flat was? Bessie sang about one and Claude McKay's 1928 novel, Home To Harlem, has many mentions of these interesting establishment.
As usual, Bessie's husband, Jack Gee pops up and everybody scatters. He loved the money Bessie was making, but he never got used to the show business environment.
Let me once again alert you to the fact that Ruby told it like it was, so this audio contains explicit language and descriptions.
I look forward to reading your comments and/or questions,