Inspirational Women of Virginia

Influential Women who Helped Shape this Great Commonwealth


This Newport News, Virginia native became one of the most enduring, respected artists of her era. It was a long road from Vaudeville to Broadway, but that was the path she chose after dropping out of high school. While her voice gave her entrance to clubs, her humor and quick thinking opened the doors to theater and big screen performances for which she would be honored with a Tony Award and the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.

Her education and public work certainly were important to her. Pearl Bailey received a degree in Theology from Georgetown University at age 67, authored several books, and was appointed Special Ambassador to the United Nations. Ms. Bailey, a national icon of sorts, was awarded the  Presidential Medal of Freedom. The dignity of her life and her performances make her one of Virginia’s most influential women.

Learn more about Pearl Bailey here…