Harry Blakely not Forgotten in African-American Music Month

Source:  Rockford Register Star, March 28,1985, p. 8B.

Education, Business and Social Interests Important to First African-Americans

George Anne Duckett, obituary

George Anne Duckett, 1939-2019, represented District 12 for 14 years on the Winnebago County Board. She was active in the Democratic Party and was Vice-President of the Rockford Neighborhood and Development Corporation and received the Points of Light, presidential award from President George H. W. Bush for that organization’s work (1991). Duckett was also publisher and owner of the VItal Force newspaper for more than 20 years. She was a member of the NAACP, NCNW, Rainbow Push Coalition, ACLU Southern Poverty Law Center and the Democratic National Committee. Source: Mullins & Thompson Funeral Service, Stafford, VA

Kimberla Lawson Roby, New York TImes Bestselling Author

Kimberla Lawson Roby followed her teachers’ advice who said she had a talent for writing and storytelling. Her first book, Behind Closed Doors, was self-published, and she sold 10,000 copies in six months. She has published 27 books; Casting the First Stone is the first in the Rev. Curtis Black series. In 2013, Roby was the recipient of the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work–FIction. Source: Northwest Quarterly Magazine, Annual Guide 2019

Samuel Sarpiya, Pastor, Change Agent

Samuel Sarpiya, was born in Nigera, came to Rockford in February 2009, to begin Rockford Community Church. He has worked with West Middle School, Rockford police, and directs the local Center for Nonviolence. Source: Northwest Quarterly Magazine, Annual Guide 2019

Reverend Eldridge H. E. Gilbert – 6-19-1972

Source: Rockford Register-Republic 6-19-1972


Eldridge H. E. Gilbert, 1967 and “Gilberts Visit Africa, Mideast” 1969

Sources: Eldridge H. E. Gilbert, Rockford Morning Star 4/20-21/1967

“Gilberts visit Africa, Mideast” Rockford Morning Star 1/11/1969


Oscar De Priest

from Scotty Kirkland “Pink Sheets and Black Ballots: Politics and Civil Rights in Mobile, Alabama, 1945 – 1985” Thesis, University of South Alabama, 2009, p. 35; sent to the library by former newspaper editor Ralph Poore.

In the summer of 1931, Mobile NAACP secretary John “LeFlore and others had begun their attempts to revitalize the branch. They arranged a visit by Oscar DePriest, the first African-American Congressmen elected since Reconstruction, in an effort to renew their membership campaign. DePriest’s visit exposed internal divisions between LeFlore and other NAACP members. The Congressman’s record of speaking out against segregation alarmed some black ministers who feared white reprisal. Several ministers who were also NAACP board members had arranged for the Congressman to speak in their churches throughout the day but withdrew their invitations due to intimidation by white leaders and the local Ku Klux Klan. A deeply embarrassed LeFlore arranged for a consolidated meeting at a local Catholic church.”