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Three Kids from Detroit

The Brewster Projects, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, Diane Ross, Getting It Together

In Detroit, Michigan, during the 1950s, soul music and rhythm and blues (R & B) were thriving. There were plenty of clubs where black musicians like Dinah Washington, Nat “King” Cole, and Ray Charles appeared regularly. Though the United States remained segregated in many ways, black performers were beginning to have success with audiences of all races. As these performers achieved success on the white pop music charts, they became known as “crossover acts” because their music was appealing to wider audiences and crossing over boundaries of race and musical tastes.

The young women who became the Supremes all shared a similar background. Ballard, Wilson, and Ross were from large families, with parents who struggled to make ends meet. Their families instilled in the girls a drive to succeed and a willingness to work hard for what they wanted to achieve.

Additional topics

Musician BiographiesThe Supremes