January 25, 1896 - November 1, 1927


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Musical feature

When Lew Leslie enticed Florence Mills away from Shuffle Along into his Plantation Revue he had songs specially written for her by  J Russel Robinson ( The White Man With Colored Fingers) who had been pianist with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band for a time.  One of these songs, described as "just about the most suggestive song ever heard on a Broadway stage. was:

Ive Got What It Takes but It Breaks My Heart to Give It Away

Here it is recorded by Lucille Hegamin in 1922, possibly with Robinson on piano
[Note: Not to be confused with the tune of same title by Clarence Williams, recorded by Bessie Smith in 1929]

                           Florence Mills: Month by Month
    1911    Teenage star of School Days in Darktown (Olympia Theatre, Brooklyn) produced by Cecil 
                  Mack of "Charleston" fame

  1913    "Baby" Mills wins Cakewalk contest at Norfolk Social Club
  1918    Panama Four
plays Chicago Grand Theatre, with legendary ragtime pianist Tony
               Jackson ("Pretty Baby")

  1921    At Shuffle Along  midnight benefit performance at Waldorf Astoria
1923    Broadcasts on WHN in honor of being guest star in Greenwich Village Follies, first Black
               female featured in major White revue
Dixie to Broadway opens at Broadhurst, New York; first black production on mainstream
   1925    Blackbirds of 1925 opens at Plantation cabaret, in preparation for European tour
   1927    Florence Mills dies; an estimated 500,000 attend her Harlem funeral

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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