Elgin Woman to Join Elite in History
Adkins, Lenore T., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Lenore T. Adkins Daily Herald Staff Writer
Barack Obama. Dionne Warwick. Late Ebony Publisher John H. Johnson.
Now included among that elite group of blacks will be Betty Brown, an Elgin woman who has chronicled local society.
Brown, 73, will be the only person from the Northwest suburbs to join the 1,200 blacks across the United States who have sat down for video interviews with The History Makers, a Chicago-based nonprofit group.
"Well, I'm elated, my gosh, such company," Brown said. "I was shocked because they never name anyone in the suburbs."
The History Makers holds the nation's largest collection of black video oral histories, said Jessie Engel, the group's scheduling coordinator.
Based on nominations, it chooses black people to interview from all fields, including medicine, media and politics.
The subjects are asked to talk at length about their lives. The group's goal is to complete 5,000 interviews of famous and unsung black history makers within the next five years.
Brown says she represents the classic rags to riches story.
She was born to parents who worked as domestics for an affluent attorney who owned a Schaumburg estate. Her mother was a cook and her father was a chauffeur.
Her family moved to Elgin from Schaumburg when she was 6 years old and she's been in Elgin ever since. She went on to become the first black nurse at St. …