Zelma George and Ruby Dee Speaking at Karamu - 1950. George performed in the opera The Medium at Karamu in 1949. Composer Gian Carlo Menotti was so moved by her performance he invited her to perform it on Broadway in 1950. She was the first black woman to take a white role on Broadway. George was more than opera singer, she was a playwright, educator, activist, US Ambassador- a giant nationally and in local Cleveland, Ohio neighborhoods.