Esther Jones (1918-1984)

Vaudeville performer Esther Jones was known on stage by many names, including “Baby Esther,” “Little Esther,” “Farina’s Kid Sister,” and “Miniature Florence Mills,” is widely, although not universally, credited with being the inspiration for the Betty Boop cartoon character. Jones was born Esther Lee Jones … Read MoreEsther Jones (1918-1984)

Gertrude C. Saunders (1903-1991)

Entertainer Gertrude C. Saunders, was born on August 25, 1903, in Ashville, North Carolina. She attended Benedict Institute (now Benedict College) in Columbia, South Carolina. During her teen years, she left to travel with the vaudeville producer Billy King Stock (Performing) Company, where she performed … Read MoreGertrude C. Saunders (1903-1991)

Rocky Fork Underground Railroad Community (1816- )

In 1816, Rocky Fork near Godfrey, Illinois, was established by four free African American families who purchased five adjacent parcels of land and built homes and a church that soon became a large-scale secret Underground Railroad station for escaped enslaved people fleeing to safety from … Read MoreRocky Fork Underground Railroad Community (1816- )