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
My new book:
"African American Entertainers in Australia and New Zealand A History,
has now been published - go to
to check it out
More info to come soon!
November saw the 92nd anniversary of
Florence's 1927 death.
It therefore seems appropiate to re-visit Duke
Ellingtons tribute to her
So click below for "Black
Beauty" also known as "Portrait of
This is the 1940s
version with Harold Baker playing the wistful trumpet solo
Ellington's Black Beauty
(from the Hurricane Club, NY 1943)
To see what was
happening in Florence's world in a particular month of the year click on
that month's box below
and then click "Home" in that month to return
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copyright property of Bill Egan. Content created by me can be used
subject to appropriate acknowledgement including URL of this site. To contact me or make suggestions
(hopefully polite) e-mail me at: (replacing [AT] with @ )
For information on Florence Mills: Info
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