Greenwood was born in Prichard, Alabama and attended Alabama State College. In 1949 she moved to San Francisco to pursue a singing career. She worked as a vocalist for 'Roy Milton & His Solid Senders' for 3 years, beginning in 1950. During this time, she also recorded her own sides for the Modern and Federal labels. In 1956 she began working as a soloist for the Duke Ellington Orchestra where she remained through the early 1960s. In the 1970s, she guest starred in the television series Good Times and The Jeffersons.
- Ace Records biography
- AllMusic bio
- Terence McArdle (July 25, 2011). "Lil Greenwood dies; singer toured with Duke Ellington". The Washington Post.
- Find-a-Grave "Lil Greenwood"