Florence Mills: Harlem Jazz Queen

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Scarecrow Press, Jan 1, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 327 pages
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This biography reveals the lost history of the life of Florence Mills, who was very famous during the 1920s, and traces her story from childhood to her untimely death at age 31. Mills who was probably the first black female international superstar, was lionized by crowned heads in Europe and described by English show business impresario C.B. Cochran as "one of the greatest artists that ever walked on to a stage." Although her career and shows changed the nature of black entertainment, and thereby the wider American popular culture, she was largely forgotten in later years. An additional theme of the book is the important but little-known associations Florence Mills had in the early world of jazz and ragtime, and her innovative influence on important aspects of jazz singing. It explores the connections between her and Duke Ellington, who dedicated his outstanding composition "Black Beauty" to her. Will be of interest to librarians, jazz fans, especially those interested in Duke Ellington, and anyone interested in the history of musical theater.
 

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Contents

Young Florence
1
Out in the World
21
The Rocky Road to Fame
43
Shufflin to the Top
59
Transatlantic Star
77
Dixie Dreams
99
The Great White Way
119
A Blackbird Takes Wing
139
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
211
Bye Bye Blackbird
225
Florence Mills A Reappraisal
243
Black Beauty
279
Other Commemorative Items
289
Bibliography
299
Index
307
About the Author
327

Looking for a Bluebird in Europe
159
Black Birds of 1927
189

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Page xvi - Maya Angelou: Image making is very important for every human being. It is especially important for black American women in that we are, by being black, a minority in the United States, and by being female, the less powerful of the genders. So, we have two areas we must address.
Page xvii - So, we have two areas we must address. If we look out of our eyes at the immediate world around us, we see whites and males in dominant roles. We need to see our mothers, aunts, our sisters, and grandmothers. We need to see Frances Harper, Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, women of our heritage.
Page 6 - The peerless child artist who has appeared before the most exclusive set in Washington, delighting them with her songs and dances, is appearing this week at the Empire Theatre with The Sons of Ham Company No. 2. An extra attraction is Baby Florence Mills singing "Hannah from Savannah.

References to this book

About the author (2004)

Bill Egan is an Irish-born citizen of Australia and has pursued a lifelong interest in jazz and African American culture.