African American Hero of Sport Babs Wingo the Wrestler
The star here is Babs Wingo. I am not sure if women wrestlers ever really took off, not being a fan of the sport today. Mostly grown men in superhero costumes playing to an audience with limited education. But I would have gone to see Babs.
Babs Wingo was no better at faking a move than the male performers, but she was out there with a few of her sisters. What a phenom. Her wrestling career was in the early 1950s. At time when African-Americans were segregated and abused, Babs was traveling on the road and climbing into the ring. One article from the time calls her and her tag team "grunters" but all the reviews were great. "Girls please crowd at wrestling show with hold galore" reads one. What a show!
Babs apparently weighed in at 150 pounds. Only 5' 3" and just 21 at the time. She also painted. I'd love to see some of her paintings. Coming from New Orleans, she would possibly have seen painters lining Jackson Square with work for sale.
Did Babs wrestle in heels? Hmm.
Life is good with diversity, even in the ring. Babs blazed trails.
Here is a time capsule film. It's great
Detail from a recently discovered wrestling poster c. 1950 Collection Jim Linderman