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Campion, Mary Anne (c. 1687–1706), singer and dancer, was born of lowly parents, her father having possibly been a servant of William Cavendish, first duke of Devonshire. She displayed a precocious talent on the stage; aged eleven, she was a member of Christopher Rich's...

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Davis, Belle (b. 1874, d. in or after 1938), dancer and singer, was born in Chicago on 28 April 1874, the daughter of George Davis. Of European and African ancestry, she spent most of her adult life abroad, largely in Britain, where she arrived in mid-1901 with two boys who were billed as Piccaninny Actors. Her performance style changed from ‘coon shouting’ and ‘ragtime singing’ in the 1890s to a more decorous manner, where prancing children provided the amusement. She directed their stage act, and with two, sometimes three or four, black children the act was a vigorous and popular entertainment in British and continental theatres....

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Florence Mills (1895–1927) by unknown photographer, c. 1925 Getty Images

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Mills, Florence [real name Florence Winfrey; married name Florence Thompson] (1895–1927), singer and dancer, was born in Washington, DC, on 25 January 1895, the daughter of John Winfrey, carpenter, and his wife, Nellie, formerly Symonds, laundrywoman. Her parents had been born in slavery in ...

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Poitier [married names Vernon, Thompson], Jane Henrietta (b. 1736, d. in or after 1788), singer and dancer, was born in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, on 8 June 1736, the daughter of the French theatre dancer Michael Poitier (d...