This is the story of an invisible man who lived at a time of invisible people. Charles Everett Ellis was the only black man living in an all-white small town in Illinois town during a violent period of America’s history, just before the Great Depression.
In a time before any thought of the Civil Rights Movement, when race riots erupted across the Midwest, many blacks fled to safety and better jobs in northern cities. One man remained with his family in the small Illinois farming town of Altamont.
Here is a collection photos of the Ellis family in Altamont, Illinois, in the pre-Great Depression era, and today. We encourage your comments, and invite you to send your photos related to this project.
The Barber’s Diaries is the true story of one black man’s journey in America, from the 1920s through the 1970s. A story about perseverance, commitment, family, education, and faith. Working as the sole barber in a time before the Great Depression – surrounded by racial violence in the Midwest and South – Charles Everett Ellis lived with his wife and seven children.