Photo by André Kertész
Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates (1907 – 1998) was an African American entertainer from South Carolina who taught himself to tap dance after losing a leg at age 12 in a cotton gin accident. His uncle, Wit, made his first, crude “peg leg” after returning home from World War I and finding his nephew legless.
Bates performed on The Ed Sullivan Show
22 times and had two Command Performances before the King & Queen of England (1936 and 1938.)
He owned and operated the successful Peg Leg Bates Country Club in New York from 1951 to 1987, along with his wife, Alice E. Bates.