January 25, 1896 - November 1, 1927
- Florence Mills (born Florence Winfrey) was one of the greatest entertainers and singing, dancing jazz performers
the world has ever seen.
- She was one of the all-time greatest stars of the black theatre, the first black international
female superstar of the Twentieth century and a major figure of the Harlem Renaissance
- Florence Mills was steeped in the traditions of African-based
black music and black dance that gave the world the Spirituals ('sorrow songs'), the Blues,
Ragtime, Jazz and the basis of much of today's popular culture
- She was also a truly lovable, charitable, socially and intellectually aware woman, who
spoke out for the rights of her fellow African Americans.
- Florence Mills is largely forgotten and neglected today, mainly because the primitive recording techniques
of the early twentieth century couldn't capture her remarkable voice, and
she was never filmed, so no record of her performance remains.
- The purpose of this site is to help reclaim for her the status and respect her
remarkable talents and heroic personality warrant, in the eyes of the world and of her
fellow African-Americans, to whom she was so important in the 1920s.
links below to learn about Florence's true greatness, or read The
Well, the new Shuffle Along
shuffled off - too soon!
Adrienne Warren was wonderful in the Florence
Mills role and will soon bounce back.
Who knows, maybe we'll see her again as
The show's problem was the slow second half.
was a great performer but was at the end of her career by the time of
Shuffle, leaving the show nowhere to go afterwards.
The real "What Came
afterwards" was Florence Mills, Josephine Baker, Adelaide Hall, Valaida Snow and
the great Blackbirds shows.
So perhaps we could yet see Adrienne
Warren back as Florence
the meantime, here's a sample of one piece of what came after (from
Blackbirds of 1933
The show was a flop but the song lived on:
A Hundred Years from
There are many great versions, including Ethel Waters, but my
favorite is this Jack Teagarden one.
Florence Mills: Month by Month
Baby Florence's first stage appearance, at Bijou Theatre DC; Breaks
down in tears
and is led off
1911 Plays Grand Theatre, Brooklyn as
member of the Mills Sisters
1917 Plays Chicago, Majestic Theatre as part
of the Tennessee Ten
Pantages Theatre, San Francisco, with the Panama Trio
with (Bricktop & Cora Green)
1921 Performs in Shuffle Along NAACP
benefit at Harlem's Lafayette Theatre
1922 Florence's Broadway show, Plantation
Revue, opens 2nd season
1923 Guest star in Greenwich
Village Follies, first Black female featured in major White revue
1926 Writes article on injustices of
discrimination for UK Sunday Chronicle
Guest of honor at Footlight Club
on return from Europe
Enters Hospital for Joint
Diseases on 25th for unsuccessful operation
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Off topic message
If any of you Florence Mills fans are
interested in chess you may like to check out my other book
The Doeberl Cup: Fifty Years of Australian Chess History