A native of Baltimore and a graduate of Juilliard, she landed the Porgy and Bess role while still taking classes at the conservatory. She went on to have a long and successful career. In 1998 she participated in Gershwin Centennial festivities at the Library of Congress and was awarded the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America by the Peabody Institute.
Music writer Tim Smith (USA) provides details at Clef Notes. Playbill offers a detailed account of her life and career. Additional features appear in the International Herald Tribune (EU), the Associated Press (USA), National Public Radio (USA) and the CBC.