About

Welcome to the Personal Collection of Elnorah Huff-Williamson, this page was created to preserve the Culture Heritage of the African American community. The Elnorah Huff-Williamson Collection was an abandoned collection that was left for waste. Upon receiving this collection, It was an honor to have the opportunity to play a key role in the preservation of this forgotten Chicago treasure. The collection holds rare photos, letters, deteriorating newspapers, programs and ephemeral that have never been seen before. This collection is unique in its findings and due to the manner in which it was created, is a primary source for research. It was created involuntarily during a very important time in American history, dating the archives to the late 1940’s thru early 1960’s.

Why are archives important?

“Archives are important because they provide evidence of activities and tell us more about individuals and institutions. They tell stories. They also increase our sense of identity and understanding of cultures. They can even ensure justice. Records weren’t usually created for the purpose of historical research so they often provide a less biased account of events than secondary sources.” Rupert Brooke

The collection holds historical and intrinsic value, placing the bulk of the collection during a time of unrest; the 1950’s. A significant turn of events took place, such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/montgomery-bus-boycott, Rosa Park refusing to give up her seat, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Parks, segregation ruled illegal in the U.S. and the murder of Emmitt Till http://www.biography.com/people/emmett-till-507515. These life altering events transpired and forever changed the history of an entire nation.

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This rare photo was taken at the Roberts Show Club in the mid 1950’s. No exact date could be located. Elnorah performing directly behind a blackface entertainer in a minstrel show. Blackface originated in the 19th century, it was a way to stereotype blacks, which depicted and humiliated blacks for all of history, http://black-face.com/ http://thegrio.com/2013/10/30/a-brief-history-of-blackface-just-in-time-for-halloween/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface

-Lisa Roberts

 

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  1. Wonderful. I stumbled on your page in the course of my own research into the life and work of Pinkney R Webster know as Pinkney Roberts ” The Fashion Plate Emcee”. Indeed I have images of Michelle ” Mike” Roberts, Pinkney’s wife with Elnorah Huff-Williamson and other dancers. My desire has been to name the others artists in many images and now I have found one. Thanks for sharing to aid research although I would love to purchase this collection in part of full should you ever decide to part with it. I have shared some on the collection in the hope of obtaining more names and historical information.

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