Gertrude Hadley Jeannette

Mar 6, 2017

Gertrude Hadley Jeannette was born in Urbana, Union County, Arkansas, in 1914. She attended Little Rock’s Dunbar High School. Rather than going to Fisk University as planned, she eloped to New York City with Joe Jeanette II, a prizefighter and president of the Harlem Dusters motorcycle club. Gertrude has had a long and storied career: she was a bodyguard for actor, singer and activist Paul Robeson; she was the first woman to get a motorcycle license to drive in New York City; she was the first woman to work a taxicab in New York City; she wrote, directed, produced, and appeared in a number of plays, including roles on Broadway; and she has had a film and television career that included a credit in the iconic 1971 film Shaft.