The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Eloise Demaris Hughes

Share on Social Media

Information about Eloise Demaris Hughes

Profile image of Eloise Demaris Hughes

Interview Dates

February 12, 2003
January 23, 2003

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

Interview Dates

February 12, 2003
January 23, 2003

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
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!