Hughes, Catherine Amanda

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Catherine Amanda Hughes Soundex Code H220

Born in Missouri, Amanda, as she was called, was an amazing woman of African American, Sioux, and French descent. She also finished her schooling, and after marrying John William Pollard, thereby becoming Catherine Amanda Pollard had her first three children: Artissmisia, Luther J., and Willie Naomi. John and Amanda understood the importance of education and did what they could to provide the best for their children.

So it was that in 1886, due to rising racial tension in Missouri, John and Amanda decided to move for more educational opportunities to the all-white Village of Rogers Park, Illinois, which was annexed to the City of Chicago in 1896.

1928 W. Lunt Avenue

After settling in at 1928 W. Lunt Avenue, Amanda and John had five additional children. The Chicago Defender of Sunday, October 9, 1937, says on page 2: "Highly respected, the family enjoyed the distinction of being the only Race group in the entire Rogers Park community." John set up his barber shop at 7017 East Ravenswood Avenue. Which was then in Evanston Township.

Amanda Pollard was an extraordinary strong-willed woman, who was ahead of her time. She was not like most women who only stayed at home, took care of children, and performed domestic chores. She defied the concept of conventional roles society had assigned to her seeking, fulfillment outside of the home, and eventually become a successful seamstress. Not only did she command at work, she managed her priorities at home as well. She kept the family together through her tough love and high expectations.

According to family members, Amanda never answered the door without carrying a handgun in her apron pocket. Not only did this speak to her bravery and protective behavior, but also, sadly, to the racial discrimination and prejudice of the time. Looking through family documents it is evident that Amanda played a significant role in the family’s finances. Many tax documents and checks bear her name, which demonstrates her unconventional role as a woman during the 19th Century.