January 25, 1896 - November 1, 1927


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Musical feature

Former world boxing champ Joe Louis presents the Florence Mills Trophy to Clara Ward (of the Ward Singers)  in 1957

Clara was a kind of latter day Florence Mills, with a magical voice that made her the key figure of the Ward Singers gospel troupe
Like Florence she grew up in a loving family but her mother's ambition and domination crushed any chance of romance in Clara's life;
She died all too young, aged 49, in 1973, having battled ill health for a long time 
Here is her featured number:

How I Got Over

(From Album  "Meetin' Tonight"  Vanguard Records)

Clara's story can be read in her sister Willa's book "How I Got Over" (ISBN: 1-56639-489-9) A great read

There remains a mystery as to what became of the "Florence Mills Trophy" in later years - does anyone know? Ideas welcome!

                       Florence Mills Month by Month
 1896    Born 610 K Street NW, a middle-class area of  Washington DC 
   1910    Plays Majestic Theatre (Brooklyn?) with Mills Sisters
Sign contract for her own show at Plantation, on Broadway 

   1924    Friends and family give her a surprise birthday party at her new home
1923    In Dixie to Broadway, opens 3-month run at Lyric Theatre, Philadelphia
   1926    Gives classical concert of William Grant Still songs before international music audience at
  Aeolian Hall
   1927    Makes sensation at London Jewish charity appeal when she sings Eli, Eli

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Off topic message
k If any of you Florence Mills fans are  interested in chess you may like to check out my other book Q
RSee: The Doeberl Cup: Fifty Years of Australian Chess History b