Give Norma Miller & lindy hop their rightful place in jazz history
Norma Miller is one of the only jazz women buried at Woodlawn Cemetery’s famous Jazz Corner in New York. Along with Frankie Manning, she will be the other original Savoy Ballroom lindy hopper laid to rest among many of the musicians she danced to and worked with.
The Frankie Manning Foundation is raising funds for a headstone to mark Norma’s grave and educate the world about this amazing woman. We are hoping to honor her with a monument that is similar to Frankie Manning’s headstone, nearby at Woodlawn.
So far, the Frankie Manning Foundation has collected donations amounting to approximately half of the total cost of the headstone through our donation system (RegPacks). This GoFundMe campaign is to raise the other half, $10,000 USD.
Please make a donation today to honor Norma Miller with a worthy headstone to mark her rightful place in jazz history.
Woodlawn Cemetery’s Jazz Corner
Woodlawn Cemetery is the final resting place for many famous artists. Frankie Manning, and now Norma Miller, are both very much at home with nearby graves of the likes of Duke Ellington, Illinois Jacquet, Miles Davis, Celia Cruz and Lionel Hampton (whose stone, appropriately, bears the inscription, “Flying home.”)
The world lost its Queen of Swing on May 5, 2019.
Known to many as the Queen of Swing, Norma Miller was an author, choreographer, dancer, comedian and actor whose career spanned over seven decades. Discovered at the age of twelve by the Savoy Ballroom’s legendary dancer Twist Mouth George, Ms. Miller was been in show business ever since.
Honored with a 2003 National Heritage Foundation Fellowship from the National Endowments of the Arts for her role in creating and continuing to preserve “the acrobatic style swing dance, known as the Lindy Hop,” Ms. Miller was an inspiration to all who knew her.
Ms. Miller’s energy continues to amaze. She published her fourth book, “Me & John Biffar”, along with writing several songs, including “The Big Apple”, her valentine to her hometown of New York, which she composed and wrote with Frank Owens.
Ms. Miller was also the subject of author and historian Al Governor’s children’s book, “Stompin at the Savoy”. Illustrated by Martin French, the book tells the story of her childhood in Harlem and takes readers to Paris, Rio and Hollywood as a teenage Norma travels the world dancing with Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers.
Florida filmmaker John Biffar completed a 72 minute documentary in 2006, “Queen of Swing” (view the trailer.) Narrated by Bill Cobbs, Queen of Swing takes an inside look at Norma Miller’s influence in the globalization of America’s jazz culture and her and her fellow artist’s role in racial integration. The documentary features interviews with Bill Cosby, Bill Cobbs, Frankie Manning, Phoebe Jacobs and Leonard Reed.
Norma continued to travel throughout the year, making appearances at a number of Swing Dance festivals and Jazz events around the world. In addition to teaching master classes, Norma also performed her comedy act and screened the “Queen of Swing” documentary.
We lost Norma on May 5, 2019, just a few months shy of her 100th birthday. To the end, she was inspiring, cantankerous, loving and loved.