Sarah Julia Fagan

Sarah Julia Fagan Biography, Career, Achievements and Legacy

Sarah Julia Fagan was an African American woman born on August 18, 1896, in Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA. While she may not have gained the same level of fame as her daughter, Billie Holiday, Sarah’s impact on the world of music and culture cannot be understated. Despite facing challenges and tragedy in her life, Sarah’s role as a mother to Billie Holiday, the iconic jazz and blues singer, left an indelible mark on music history. Here’s an article of Sarah Julie Fagan’s biography, highlighting her life, achievements, and legacy.

Profile Summary

Profile Information
Full Name Sarah Julia Fagan
Birth Place Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA
Date of Birth August 18, 1896
Death October 6, 1945 (aged 49)
Burial Saint Raymond’s New Cemetery & Mausoleum, Bronx County, USA
Zodiac Sign Leo
Height N/A
Weight N/A
Eye Color N/A
Hair Color N/A
Parents Name N/A
Siblings N/A
Education Baltimore Girls, Maryland
Nationality American
Ethnicity African American
Gender Female
Married Status Divorced
Spouse Name N/A
Children Billie Holiday
Profession N/A
Famous For Mother of Billie Holiday
Social Media N/A
Net Worth N/A

Sarah Julia Fagan Biography

At the start of 1929, Billie and her mother relocated to Harlem. Florence Williams was a well-dressed woman who ran a brothel at 151 West 140th Street. Billie, who was just 14 years old, became a prostitute for $5 per session despite her young age, making her one of the town’s youngest prostitutes. The home was invaded on May 2, 1929, and the inhabitants were detained. Sarah and Billie were released from a workhouse two months after their incarceration.

Billie Holiday was born to Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her parents, Sarah Julia Fagan and Clarence Holiday, were just 16 and 18 when she was born. She could have inherited her skill from her father, Clarence, a legendary jazz performer. Billie’s life’s journey was anything but simple. Billie never had a father figure in her life.

Early Life

Sarah Julia Fegan was born in an American nation to a family with a black heritage. She attended a public school in Baltimore, Maryland, and at fourteen, she fell in love with Clarence Holiday. At 19, Sarah fell pregnant after falling in love with her next-door neighbor, Clarence. When Sarah gave birth to her daughter Billie, Clarence and Sarah were neither married nor cohabitating.

Shortly after Billie was born, Clarence was forced to leave his family behind to pursue his passion for playing the jazz banjo and guitar. Due to her parent’s abandonment, Sarah had to go to Philadelphia and set up care for her baby in Baltimore with her older half-sister, Eva Miller. Of the seventeen family members, Sarah Julia Fagan was the twelfth and an American citizen of black origin.

Sarah Julia Fagan Children

Just one child was born to Sarah Julia Fagan; that child, Billie “Lady Day” Holiday, became well-known for her musical aptitude in jazz, which she most likely inherited from her father.

Despite the various hardships and difficult upbringing Billie experienced, she became a famous black American jazz vocalist. When Billie was 18, John Hammond requested that she join their band after hearing her perform at a Harlem bar. Billie then began performing in clubs.

Between 1935 and 1939, when she recorded songs on Young’s piano, she gained an international reputation. Billie also worked at the Society Cafe, where she met her drug dealer husband, Jimmy Monroe. Billie was introduced to opium and heroin by Jimmy Monroe, who turned her into an addict who sang depressing songs. Many concur that she later rose to the status of a goddess of dreadful and depressing tunes.

Family and Career

When Billie was just five years old, her mother, Sarah, married Philip Gough, and their union ended in divorce. When Billie was nine years old, she started skipping school. She was sent to “the home of the good shepherd” because of her problematic African American females. She reappeared seven months later, but this time she was a ten-year-old who had been “molested and mistreated” (Ward).

After relocating to New York City, “she worked as a prostitute in Alice Dean’s brothel” for two years (Ward). She began singing at clubs to relieve some of the tension in her life, at which point she “renamed herself Billie after the film diva Billie Dove”. She was invited to join John Hammond’s band when she was just 18 years old after being seen by him at a jazz club in Harlem.

By 1941, when she was 26 years old, “she had married small-time drug dealer Jimmy Monroe, who introduced her to opium and heroin, and it proved to be an addictive acquaintance” and “her doom” (Glasgow). When she reached 32, her conviction for narcotics possession was upheld. (Glasgow). She sang Saddest Story in Billie’s scene, and later in her career, after abusing drugs and smoking a million cigarettes, she honed her craft as a master of depressing tunes.

Those like myself, who first learned about Billie through the sad things, are thrilled to discover all this lovely content. Nevertheless, many collection CDs demonstrate that Billie’s recordings in her early years were frequently cherry, so this is not surprising.

Sarah Julia Fagan Death

There is no known biography of Sarah Julia, although historians claim that, in the 1940s, she had a brief relationship with trumpeter Joe. He died because she started using heroin and other dangerous substances. Sarah Julia Fagan, the mother of the renowned jazz vocalist Billie “Lady Day” Holiday, started a relationship with the son of the home’s owner while working as a cleaner.


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