Birth Name: Lena Mary Calhoun Horne
Date of Birth: June 30, 1917
Place of Birth: Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Date of Death: May 9, 2010
Place of Death: Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
Ethnicity: African-American, some English
Lena Horne was an American singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist.
Lena was the daughter of Edna Louise (Scottron) and Edwin Fletcher Horne. Her parents were both black. She also had English ancestry. She is sometimes stated to have had Native American roots. It is not clear if this Native American ancestry has been verified/documented.
Lena was married to musician, composer, conductor, and arranger Lennie Hayton, until his death. She had two children, Edwin and journalist Gail Lumet Buckley, with her former husband, Louis Jordan Jones. She is the grandmother of actress and screenwriter Jenny Lumet, and the great-grandmother of actor and musician Jake Cannavale.
Lena’s paternal grandfather was named Edwin Fletcher Horne, Sr. (the son of Edwin F. Horne and Elizabeth). Lena’s grandfather Edwin was born in Tennessee, New Mexico, or Indiana.
Lena’s paternal grandmother was Cora Catherine Calhoun (the daughter of Moses Calhoun and Atlanta Mary Fernanda/Fernando). Cora was born in Georgia. Moses was the son of Nellie Reynolds. Atlanta was born in Georgia, the daughter of Arkansas Fernanda and Charlotte.
Lena’s maternal grandfather was Cyrus L. Scottron (the son of Samuel Raymond Scottron/Scrotton and Anna Maria Willet). Cyrus was born in Georgia. Samuel was a noted inventor, and was the son of Samuel J. Scottron and Jane M.
Lena’s maternal grandmother was Louise Ashton Logan (the daughter of Joshua Logan and Amelia Louise Ashton). Lena’s grandmother Louise was born in New York.
Genealogies of Lena Horne – http://www.geni.com
Lena’s father on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Lena’s father on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
She also had some Scottish, Irish and Northern Irish ancestry
Atlanta Mary Fernanda was said to be of Louisiana Creole background (source: Notable Black American Women, by Jessie Carney Smith).
Googling “Andrew Bonaparte Calhoun”, most articles simply state that he owned Horne’s great-grandfather, not that he was his biological father.
According to Lena’s daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, from the book “The Black Calhouns”:
“The 1850 Slave schedule (slave census) for A.B. Calhoun listed Moses (Lena’s ancestor) as a twenty-years-old man_ and M for Mualatto. A.B. Calhoun may well have been a father figure for Moses. Like many Southern slave families, the black Calhoun were interwined with the white Calhouns”. She also wrote that Moses father may well have been Judge William Ezzard, three-time major of Atlanta.
15% black, she could’ve passed as white.
No, she can’t. She looks like a Black American woman. A mixed woman- yes! But she is mixed just like most African-American. Some of us you can tell and some you can’t.