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Ernie Mae Miller

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Information about Ernie Mae Miller

Profile image of Ernie Mae Miller

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Singer
Jazz Musician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Meatloaf
Favorite Time of Year:
Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
If You Want To Hear Me Play, Call Ernie Mae.

Birthplace

Born:
2/7/1927
Birth Location:
Austin, Texas

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Singer
Jazz Musician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Meatloaf
Favorite Time of Year:
Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
If You Want To Hear Me Play, Call Ernie Mae.

Birthplace

Born:
2/7/1927
Birth Location:
Austin
See how Ernie Mae Miller is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Ernest Mae Miller was born on February 7, 1927 to Lizzie Anderson Crafton and Otto Henry Crafton in Austin, Texas. Miller is the granddaughter of L.C. Anderson who was born into slavery, attended Fisk University, and became the third President of Prairie View Normal and Industrial College, the forerunner of Prairie View A & M University, succeeding his brother E.H. Anderson. Her grandfather would later become the principal of his namesake school, L.C. Anderson High School in Austin, Texas from 1886 to 1920. Miller graduated from this high school in 1944 at age fourteen.

Miller began playing the piano by ear after listening to her grandmother’s records on the family victrola. She was discovered to be musically gifted by the time she was five years old. After graduating from high school, Miller attended Prairie View A & M University where she was invited to play the baritone saxophone with the Prairie View Co-Ed Jazz Band.

The Prairie View Co-Eds were one of several African American all-girl bands that were popular with African American audiences in the mid-1940s. Miller traveled with the sixteen-piece band that performed for servicemen at army camps and forts all over the United States. The Prairie View Co-Eds performed in Tuskegee, Alabama on the same show with Bob Hope, Vaughn Monroe, and Anita O’Day in New York City and at the Plantation Club in St. Louis with Billie Holliday. Miller began her solo career as a jazz pianist and vocalist. She has played for most of the prominent hotels, events and exclusive parties in the Austin community. Miller was the featured performer for fifteen years at the Old New Orleans Club in Austin.

Though the Prairie View Co-Eds were never recorded and omitted from jazz and swing history, Miller has recorded two albums both titled Ernie Mae at the Old New Orleans Club and her career spanned over forty years. Ernest Mae Miller died on December 9, 2010 after battling a long illness. She was 83 years old.

Ernie Mae Miller was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 7, 2007.

See how Ernie Mae Miller is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ernie Mae Miller's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ernie Mae Miller lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ernie Mae Miller talks about her sisters
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her early interest in music
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her neighborhood in Austin, Texas, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her maternal great-great-grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ernie Mae Miller describes the Olive Street School in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her neighborhood in Austin, Texas, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ernie Mae Miller recalls her teachers at Olive Street School in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ernie Mae Miller remembers her childhood piano teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ernie Mae Miller remembers Olive Street Elementary School in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ernie Mae Miller remembers playing in the L.C. Anderson High School band
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ernie Mae Miller describes Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her experiences in the Prairie View Co-eds band
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her childhood during the Great Depression
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ernie Mae Miller remembers travelling with the Prairie View Co-eds band
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her grandfather and the Prairie View Co-eds
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ernie Mae Miller remembers performing at the Apollo Theater in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ernie Mae Miller recalls the members of the Prairie View Co-eds band
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her husbands and sons
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ernie Mae Miller remembers her nightclub career in Austin, Texas, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ernie Mae Miller remembers her nightclub career in Austin, Texas, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ernie Mae Miller recalls recording two albums at The Old New Orleans Club in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ernie Mae Miller talks about her signature songs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ernie Mae Miller recalls performing with bands in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ernie Mae Miller describes her performances in Austin's senior centers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ernie Mae Miller remembers meeting Billie Holiday and other jazz singers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ernie Mae Miller remembers performing for President Lyndon Baines Johnson
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ernie Mae Miller remembers playing for politician J.J. Pickle
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ernie Mae Miller reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ernie Mae Miller shares her advice for aspiring musicians
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ernie Mae Miller talks about her musical arrangements
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ernie Mae Miller describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ernie Mae Miller narrates her photographs