The Loss of a Beloved "Spice Girl"

 

Cheryl Willis / Feb 2011

 

On Wednesday, January 26, 2011, Edwina “Salt” Evelyn tapped her way home. Edwina Evelyn was born in Bedford, Massachusetts, on September 19, 1922. She was the youngest of six children born to Christina and John Edward Evelyn.

In the early 1940s, Edwina and her partner Anne Baxter, known as “Edwina and Anne,” were featured in Harlem’s Apollo Theatre with The Lucky Millender Band. They also appeared the week of March 11, 1942, with The Fats Waller Orchestra and "Three Shades of Rhythm."

For several years, Evelyn ventured out into the professional world as a solo performer. The African American newspaper critics gave her the title "Little Lady of Taps."

In 1944, Evelyn was teamed with Jewel “Pepper” Welch for a combination of Evelyn's Rhythm Tap and Welch's Flash. The pair performed together as “Salt and Pepper” until 1954. They were featured in theatre and nightclub shows throughout the United States. “Salt” lived in Greenwich Village. She was acknowledged for her work and pioneering spirit of paving the way for women tap dancers. Edwina Evelyn spent the last 20 years sharing her knowledge and experiences of the Swing Era with researchers and friends.