Michelle Williams and her family are being honored by the city of Rockford, Illinois with an exhibit displayed in The Ethnic Heritage Museum as a tribute to the Williams family contribution to Rockford.
FEBRUARY BLACK HISTORY MONTH – New Exhibit Opens Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016 3:00 p.m.
“MRS. FREDA WILLIAMS and HER FAMILY” Celebrate Rockford’s Local Black History Sun., Feb. 14 – April 2016
The exhibit features accomplishments of “Mama Freda” and her respected family members. After WW II Mama Freda moved with her husband Dennis Myles Williams Jr. and son Dennis from Cleveland, OH. to Rockford. She was employed by Roper Inc. and Rockford Board of Educ. as a custodian before retiring in 1982. Mama Freda was a charter member of Providence Baptist Church. She was a member of the Rkfd. & Elgin Usher Board Council and honorary member of St. Paul COGIC. She actively volunteered at St. Elizabeth Center, St. Paul Academy, Booker Washington Community Center and Washington Park Community Center.
Also featured is Michelle Williams, Mama Freda’s granddaughter. Michelle Williams is a top pop music star as part of the band Destiny’s Child. She has also enjoyed success as a solo gospel music artist and actress. She has sung the lead in Aida on Broadway and starred in national tour of Broadway’s hit Color Purple. Michelle has earned an array of awards and honors. (photo Mama Freda and Michelle)
Other ground breaking members of Freda’s family spotlighted in the exhibit: Doris Nolan is Rockford’s second African American teacher and former County Board member, and one of founders of the Rkfd. Chapter of the Natl. Council of Negro Women. Anita Williams is a registered nurse in Dialysis and Rockford Clinic nurse. Also, recognized, Jacqueline Washington Pullins and her sons Eric (musician) and Dr. Christopher Pullins. In 1967 Jacqueline became the first African American graduate of Swedish American Hospt. School of Nursing. Charles Washington, M.D. and son of Dr. Charles Washington is a renowed physician,counselor, consultant, author, speaker and pastor. Bishop James Washington is Pastor of St. Paul Church of God in Christ and a founder of St. Paul COGIC Academy. Bonnie Jefferson was most recently employed as a Mrking Specialist for Civic Engagement and is now the owner of Bonnie’s Boutique, specializing in lady’s hats.
This special exhibit will feature a musical tribute on Sun. Feb. 14 starting at 3 p.m. There will be performances by Denise Williams, granddaughter of Mama Freda and Michelle Williams’ sister. This tribute is FREE to the public, but donations are greatly appreciated.
Weekly tours may also be scheduled for groups of four or more by calling the museum @ 815 962-7402. The museum is open Sundays from 2-4 p.m. and admission is $5 individual , $3 student, or $10 family, Free to members .
Photos courtesy of Michelle’s sister Cameron “Cammy” Williams:
Thanks Cammy! 🙂