Florence Mills House
New York, NY
Designated an NHL: December 8, 1976
Designation withdrawn: January 16, 2009
The Florence Mills House, located in the famed African-American neighborhood of Harlem in New York City, was the residence of renowned African-American Broadway performer Florence Mills. Mills became an overnight sensation during the Roaring Twenties after starring in the first large-scale African-American musical composed, directed and performed by African Americans, Shuffle Along. Talented as an actress, singer, dancer, and comedienne, she also performed in other highly successful productions such as “Blackbirds,” and “From Dixie to Broadway,” which broke Broadway tradition by casting a female as the lead singing and dancing star. Until then, black-face male comedy ensembles dominated the black musical comedy genre and “From Dixie to Broadway” represented a maturation of African-America theatre. Becoming a role model for African Americans during her career, she was also a vocal advocate against disparities between the races. Unfortunately, Mills suffered an untimely passing at the age of 32. Her sudden demise cut short her flourishing career and her efforts toward bettering race relations. She was believed to have resided at 220 West 135th Street from 1895-1927, spanning the entire duration of her short-lived career from 1910 through 1927.