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Eloise Demaris Hughes

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Information about Eloise Demaris Hughes

Profile image of Eloise Demaris Hughes

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Dancer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cruises
Favorite Quote:
Help Me, Please.

Birthplace

Born:
2/1/1916
Birth Location:
Mobile, Alabama

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Dancer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cruises
Favorite Quote:
Help Me, Please.

Birthplace

Born:
2/1/1916
Birth Location:
Mobile
See how Eloise Demaris Hughes is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Dancer Eloise Demaris Hughes was born in Mobile, Alabama, on February 1, 1916, to Ethel Rowena and John Henry Williams. The family, including her sisters Lenese Brown and Annita Ethel Vance, migrated to Chicago, where Hughes graduated from Wendell Phillips High School.

Hughes started dancing professionally in her twenties. Between 1934 and 1944, she performed at Club DeLisa, the posh Chicago nightclub. There, she met show business stars like George Raft and John Barrymore, danced with legendary tap dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and worked with various other well-known performers such as Bessie Smith, Billy Eckstine, Dinah Washington and George Kirby. She traveled across the country, performing on stage at the Apollo Theater in New York City in 1935 and dancing in California in 1937. It was on the West Coast that she met Nat King Cole and his first wife, Nadine, and they became close friends.

For her efforts to further the cause of African American Catholics in Chicago, Hughes received the Augustus Tolton Award in 1996. In 1999, she attended the William Christopher Handy Music Festival in Florence, Alabama, where she took home top honors in the "Street Strut" contest. In 2000, she returned to become the festival's first female Grand Marshall, or "Grand Oobeedoo."

Hughes is married to Leon Leonard Hughes. They live in Chicago.

See how Eloise Demaris Hughes is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eloise Hughes' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eloise Hughes lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eloise Hughes describes her family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eloise Hughes describes her father, John Henry Williams
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eloise Hughes describes her mother, Ethel Battiste Williams
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eloise Hughes describes the sights, smells, and sounds of her childhood in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eloise Hughes describes her memories from childhood in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eloise Hughes recalls her favorite activities as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Eloise Hughes describes her grade school years
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Eloise Hughes talks about her grandfather's ancestry and the origin of Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eloise Hughes recounts her family's migration from Mobile, Alabama to Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eloise Hughes describes childhood memories of William Grant "Habeas Corpus" Anderson and fighter Jack Johnson in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eloise Hughes describes learning to dance
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eloise Hughes talks about Richard B. Harrison, Walter Dyett and musicians in Dyett's music program at Wendell Phillips High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eloise Hughes talks about her early career as a dancer in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eloise Hughes talks about Ella Fitzgerald at the Apollo Theatre, Chick Webb and the Harlem Opera House, and Bessie Smith's death
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Eloise Hughes talks about Chicago celebrities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Eloise Hughes talks about the off-Broadway revival of "Shuffle Along", her close friendship with Nadine Robinson, and Nat King Cole's discovery that he could sing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eloise Hughes talks about Nat King Cole and Two-Gun Pete
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eloise Hughes talks about Nat King Cole's divorce and her friendship with his ex-wife Nadine Robinson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eloise Hughes talks about Nat King Cole and his wife Maria Hawkins Cole
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eloise Hughes talks about her friendship with Dinah Washington, pt.1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eloise Hughes talks about her friendship with Dinah Washington, pt.2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eloise Hughes talks about the famous musicians she knew
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eloise Hughes talks about entertainers Charlie Parker, Gene Ammons, and Billy Green
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eloise Hughes talks about mob activity in Chicago nightclubs during the 1920s and 1930s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Eloise Hughes talks about her mother's work for Al Capone and her friendship with comedian George Kirby
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eloise Hughes describes the Club DeLisa
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eloise Hughes compares nightclubs in Chicago to nightclubs in New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eloise Hughes talks about traveling as a dancer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eloise Hughes talks about her agent, Nat Nazzaro and "The Rhythm Triplets"
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eloise Hughes talks about Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eloise Hughes talks about her husband, Leon Hughes
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eloise Hughes describes her role in the Bud Billiken Parade
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eloise Hughes talks about working at the Club DeLisa and why she left
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Eloise Hughes talks about the W.C. Handy Festival in Florence, Alabama
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eloise Hughes talks about her heart attack
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eloise Hughes describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eloise Hughes describes how dancing changed
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eloise Hughes reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eloise Hughes reflects upon how her parents viewed her success
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Eloise Hughes talks about how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Eloise Hughes narrates her photographs, pt.1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Eloise Hughes narrates her photographs, pt.2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eloise Hughes narrates her photographs, pt. 3