Media Coverage: A Barber’s Diary

Former Altamont resident Charles Everett Ellis recalled as African-American pioneer

Bill Grimes of the Effingham, IL, Daily Newsreports on August 1, 2011:

ALTAMONT — By Jingo! That’s what Charles Everett Ellis might have said about Sunday’s visit of several descendants to his old home town of Altamont.

Adrienne Ellis Reeves (left) and her sister, Wilma Ellis Kazemzadeh sit beside the Ellis family stained glass windows at the First Methodist Church in Altamont, IL.

Ellis, who used the term “By Jingo” on a regular basis, was a fixture in downtown Altamont during the first three decades of the 20th century. He started keeping a diary on his 40th birthday — Jan. 22, 1927 — and kept on writing for the last 44 years of his life.

The entries are a fascinating look into the life of an African-American in a predominately white community at the turn of the century.

The diaries eventually stretched to 2,560 pages of observations about Ellis’ life — and the larger world around him.

But it all started in Altamont and that’s why members of the Ellis family were in town Sunday. Daughters Adrienne Ellis Reeves and Wilma Ellis Kazemzadeh received a plaque after morning services at the United Methodist Church in Altamont. On top of that, members of the production team accompanied family members to church as part of an upcoming documentary on the family patriarch and his world.

Click here for the whole story.

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