Alberta Hunter was born April 1, 1895 in Memphis Tennessee.
Her father left when she was a child and her mother got a job in a whorehouse working as a servant to support her family. In 1906 her mother remarried but Hunter wasn't thrilled with her new found family and left home in her early teens and moved to Chicago. Hunter began her singing career at Dago Frank's whorehouse and then at Hugh Hoskin's Saloon.
She combed through every dive until she landed a job at the Dreamland ballroom in 1917 making $35 a week. Hunter stayed with the Dreamland ballroom for five years and her career as a singer and songwriter hit an all time high during the 1920s and recorded on labels Black Swan, Paramount, Gennett, Okeh, Victor and Columbia.
Finding herself bored with nothing to do she restarted her singing career. In 1978 restaurant owner Barney Josephson offered her a limited engagement at his Greenwich Village club called The Cookery. Hunter took the offer for a two week gig that turned into a smashing success. People came in droves and packed the place to hear Hunter sing. Producer John Hammond signed her to Columbia Records. Her come back lasted six years, making television appearances, an invitation to sing at the White House and wrote the soundtrack music for the motion picture "Remember My Name."
Although Hunter was a lesbian she kept her sexuality some what private. In 1927 Hunter sailed for France with Lottie Tyler and their relationship lasted until Tyler's death many years later. Hunter also had an affair with singer Ethel Waters.
Hunter died October 17, 1984 at the age of 89. Hunter did everything from writing music to entertaining our troops during World War ll. She was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011 while her album "Amtrak Blues" had been previously honored in 2009.