Lifelong Peorian and civil rights pioneer celebrates 100th birthday

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PEORIA (WEEK) — Dozens of friends, family and loved ones gathered Thursday to celebrate Elise Ford Allen’s 100th birthday.

Allen’s daughter, Linda, said it is more than just a birthday party – it is a celebration of her life and many accomplishments.

“We want to keep her on the pedestal that she belongs on. And we are just so proud to be apart of what she imparted in us,” Allen’s daughter, Linda Hollis, said.

Born and raised on Gale Avenue in Peoria, Allen founded The Traveler Weekly – central Illinois’ first black-owned newspaper – in 1966.

She helped establish an inner-city Girl Scouts troop and even ran for mayor at one point – so many accomplishments, her family said a book is being written.

“She is wonderful – a wonderful woman all-around. She’s been a mother to so many … She’s just been there for each and every one of us,” Allen’s granddaughter, Tanya Nelson, said.

The party started with food, story-telling and the singing of ‘Happy Birthday’.

Later on, councilwoman Denise Jackson honored Allen with a City of Peoria proclamation and Mayor Rita Ali spoke of how she inspires black women in the community.

“I’m just thrilled to be with her on her 100th birthday celebration. To thank her,” Ali said.

Allen’s daughters describe her as “the matriarch” – she had 11 children, dozens of grandchildren, and several great-grandkids.

Her family said Thursday was a way to bring everyone together in one place.

“We’re just so happy that everybody could come out and celebrate … She’s really very honored to have them. And we are honored to have her as our mother,” Allen’s daughter, Angela Henry, said.

“Our family is a very loving family, and we love each other. I’ve got the best family in the world – the best,” Allen’s daughter, Carol Adams, said.

The post Lifelong Peorian and civil rights pioneer celebrates 100th birthday appeared first on WEEK.

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