“ But before she started, most black music did not make it into the mainstream. The only thing that record companies would produce was minstrel singing. They, right around the early '20s, discovered that there was actually a market out there for authentic black music from actual black voices, and Bessie stepped in as one of the biggest-hit sellers in that genre.” -Wright (NPR)
Bessie Smith was fatally injured in a car accident in 1937.
Although never confirmed, many thought her death was a result of neglect at an all-white hospital that she is presumed to have died in.
Bessie Smith is still often regarded as the one of the greatest blues singers, her grave reads "The greatest blues sing in the world will never stop singing."