Thanks to the Unofficial Billie Holiday Website, http://www.ladyday.net., where I found this. The headstone saddens me. Also sorrowful, but in more complex ways, are the pages from Billie’s FBI file, available also on this site. Those pages, even with large portions blacked out, suggest that J. Edgar Hoover and his men were star-struck (see his response to a letter from Tallulah Bankhead) but incapable of understanding that artists might be exceptional individuals in many ways.
Perhaps it is naive of me to be surprised that the FBI lacked sympathy and compassion. But the pages of Billie’s dossier made this lack painfully evident.