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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Ellis Family Portrait, 1928
Ellis Family Portrait, 1928, Chandler, Oklahoma Photograph courtesy the Ellis family 

Chandler: The Ellis Family Story

A family history that chronicles the Ellis family of Chandler, Oklahoma. Whit and Maggie Ellis, both children of former slaves, came from poor, rural, southern families. Married in 1899 in Chandler, Whit and Maggie became parents of 10 children who lived to adulthood, all earning college degrees, seven obtaining masters degrees, and two receiving Ph.D.s -- remarkable academic achievements, considering their humble beginnings and the segregated times in which the family lived. The 10 Ellis children went on to accomplish equally remarkable things in their lives; professions represented among them were teacher, counselor, consultant, university professor, college president, corporate executive, army officer, curator, and local, state, and national civic leader. They were often the first blacks to hold positions traditionally reserved for white professionals. Based on family stories as well as historical documents, the narrative tells of the personal success of each family member in the face of racism, poverty, and other obstacles. Photographs are included.

Originally submitted by: Thomas M. Davis, Representative (11th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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