Florence Mills

  • American

Popular African American singer who in the 1920s achieved stardom on Broadway and in Europe, thus becoming a symbol of success for Black Americans. Ms Mills starred in such productions as "Shuffle Along", the first large-scale musical composed, directed and performed by African Americans. With her performance, she became the "Toast of Broadway" overnight, and was regarded as a role model for African Americans. Her death at age 32 cut short her burgeoning career and her efforts to improve race relations. - NRHP 8 December 1976

Themes with Florence Mills


Y/M/D Description Association Composition Place Locale Food Event
Y/M/D Description Association Composition Place Locale Food Event
1896/01/25 Florence Winfrey is born to Nellie Simon Winfrey and John Winfrey in Washington, DC. Born
1910/00/00 Florence Mills' home til 1927. In December 1976, the NP Service mistakenly listed 220 W 135th as the Mills home, but she probably lived at 220 W 133th. Either way, both buildings have been lost and 220 W 135th was delisted from the registry 16 January 20. Home Central Harlem
1921/08/00 Florence Mills stars in 'Shuffle Along' at the Cort 63rd Street Theatre, 22 W 63rd St, NYC (razed), August 1921 to May 1922. Actress Shuffle Along
1922/07/22 Dancer, Ulysses "Slow Kid" Thompson and his wife, Florence Mills, star in Lew Leslie's stage show "Plantation Revue" at the Plantation Club, NYC. Performer Sam Salvin's Plantation Club site New York City
1923/03/00 Charles B Cochran presents Florence Mills in 'Dover Street to Dixie' at The London Pavilion. There were rumors that an anti-colored demonstration are planned, but after one song, London is at her feet. Performer The London Pavilion London
1924/06/27 Florence Mills headlines at the Palace Theatre, the nation's most prestigious booking in vaudeville. Vaudevillian Palace Theatre New York City
1926/00/00 Lew Leslie's "Blackbirds of 1926" starring Florence Mills, Johnny Hudgins and Edith Wilson premieres at The Harlem Alhambra in Harlem, NYC. Performer The Harlem Alhambra, NYC New York City
1926/01/24 Florence Mills sings "Levee Land", four jazz-based songs composed for the occasion by William Grant Still, conducted by Eugene Goossens. Performer Aeolian Building New York City
1926/05/28 "Blackbirds of 1926" opens at a private midnight VIP party starring Florence Mills, Johnny Hudgins, the Three Eddies and the Plantation Jazz Orchestra conducted by Shrimp Jones with Johnny Dunn. It starts a half hour late waiting for Josephine Baker. Performer Espace Cardin, Paris Paris
1926/09/00 Florence Mills becomes an international star when Lew Leslie's Blackbirds of 1926 runs for 276 performances in London. Edward, Prince of Wales, admits to the press that he has seen Blackbirds 11 times. Performer The London Pavilion London
1927/11/01 Florence Mills dies of 'paralytic ileus', a complication from an operation for pelvic tuberculosis at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City. Died
1927/11/02 Harlem pays tribute to Florence Mills, negro comedienne, who died on Tuesday. All day negroes file through the funeral chapel of A Adolph Howell at 2332 Seventh Avenue to view her body. - NY Times In Memoriam St Nicholas Historic District New York City Funeral of Florence Mills
1927/11/06 As Florence Mills' coffin moves toward the AME Zion alter, strains of Chopin's "Requiem" give way to his "Funeral march". Honorary pall bearers include Ethel Waters, Cora Green and Lottie Gee. In Memoriam Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, NYC New York City Funeral of Florence Mills
1927/11/06 While an estimated crowd between 150,000 to 200,000 lined the streets, Florence Mills' funeral procession moves through Harlem to her burial at Woodlawn Cemetery, in the Bronx, New York. In Memoriam Woodlawn Cemetery New York City Funeral of Florence Mills
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