The Ma Rainey Home is a historical Columbus landmark honoring the legendary “Mother of Blues”, Ma Rainey. Born as Gertrude Pridgett (1886-1939) on April 26, 1886 in Columbus, GA , Ma Rainey showed a musical talent from a young age. She performed a couple blocks away from the Ma Rainey House at the Springer Opera House as part of a talent show at the age of 14. Not long after, she started touring as part of vaudeville and minstrel shows. In 1904, she met and married show manager, William “Pa” Rainey.
Ma Rainey was a musical revolutionary, incorporating various styles of blues, jazz, and her own personal flair into the minstrel and vaudeville acts. Her deep, raspy vocals were said to be an influence on blues singer Bessie Smith, who had toured with Ma Rainey for a period.
After a long career of touring and over 100 recordings with Paramount, Ma Rainey moved to her 5th Avenue home in Columbus in the early 1930’s to retire. She was inducted into several halls of fame including the Blues Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 1983, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1992, and the Georgia Women of Achievement in 1993. She was commemorated by the U.S. Postal Service for her achievements in 1994 with a stamp in her honor.