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BHM Day 20: Howard “Sandman” Sims


Howard Sims was a tap dancer who received the name “Sandman” because of his practice of sprinkling sand on the stage to alter and amplify the sound of his dancing.

He began his career in Vaudeville.  But he is perhaps best known for his work of nearly 50 years at the Apollo, where he would usher booed acts off the stage with a broom or hook.

In the 1980s he served as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. and performed around the world.

He taught tap to stars like Gregory Hines and Ben Vereen and even helped Muhammad Ali with his boxing footwork.

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