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
Black History Month
February is the traditional Black History month
this year I have made my own Black History discovery!
I knew when I wrote the
book that Florence had been an honored guest at a gala event
congratulate Charles Lindbergh on his great aviation feat of crossing the
There was proof in her passport entries for France and her copy of
the souvenir programme
I had never been able to find direct contemporary
proof of her presence at the event.
At last, thankds to full-text newspaper
searching, here it is (Comoedia, 28 May 1927):
Translated, the second paragraph says:
"Miss Florence Mills, visiting
Paris at the request of M. Edmond Sayag, kindly lent her support free of charge,
to the very great joy of an enthusiastic public, who gave a warm welcome to the
More can be found under "News" link above.
While on Black History and Florence's Lindbergh connection, let us not forget
great black aviators of that era:
( 1892 – 1926) The first woman of African-American and Native
American descent, to hold a pilot license
Hubert Fauntleroy Julian
(!897-1983) 'The Black Eagle', who scattered roses over Florence Mills'
Florence Mills Month by Month
Playing Grand Theatre, Fishkill, N.Y. With the Mills Sisters
Name first linked romantically with Kid Thompson
Rejoins Tennessee Ten & Kid Thompson in Chicago
With Tennessee Ten in Folly Town
at Casino Theatre Philadelphia
Opens in Broadway show Plantation
Revue - First black female Broadway star!
Plays hometown Harlem at Lafayette Theatre in Plantation Revue
Florence & Kid receive Steinway
Baby Grand at new Harlem home
Plantation Revue plays Harlem
again at Lafayette
Full page portrait appears in Vanity
Fair – first black person ever!
In Dixie to Broadway at Lyric
Gives interview denying play Lulu
Belle is based on her life
Shares British charity concert bill with the great Gracie Fields
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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