Ethnic Heritage Museum pays tribute to Chuck Jefferson

Chuck Jefferson
Chuck Jefferson

Staff Report

Each year for Black History Month, the African-American Gallery of the Ethnic Heritage Museum (EHM) showcases a different aspect of black history and its effect on the Rockford community. This year for Black History Month, the gallery will showcase the career of Rockford’s first black state representative, Charles E. “Chuck” Jefferson.

Join the African-American Gallery from 2 to 5 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 25, as it unveils its newest exhibit honoring former State Rep. Jefferson. To kick off this new exhibit, the gallery will host a special program at 3 p.m., Jan. 25, to thank Jefferson for his many years of service to the community. The special program will include music by singer Beth Anne Beal.

Born in Waco, Texas, Jefferson served in the United States Army from 1965 to 1971. He obtained the rank of sergeant and served as a Unit Military Police. From 1990 to 2001, he served on the Winnebago County Board. In April 2001, he became the 67th District’s first African-American representative and served until his retirement in 2014. His committee assignments included Aging; Consumer Protection; Labor; Public Utilities; Juvenile Justice Reform; Consumer Regulation; Tourism & Conventions; and Public Utilities Subcommittee (sub-chairman).

Jefferson has held many leadership positions on several civic boards and community organizations. He has been a supporter of the EHM and is active in the revitalizing of Booker Washington Community Center. Jefferson is an active member of Providence Baptist Church, and he has three sons: Carl, Curtis and Charles Jr.

EHM is at 1129 S. Main St. and is unique in its blend of ethnic groups: African-American, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian and Polish. A visit to each gallery will enlighten visitors to their cultural history and their contributions to life in Rockford.

The Honoring Jefferson” exhibit will be on display every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m., from Jan. 25 until Sunday, April 26. Admission is $5 for individuals, $3 for students or $10 for families, or free to members.

The special program Jan. 25 will start at 3 p.m., and admission is free to the public, but donations will be appreciated.

For more details, visit or email The museum is handicap accessible. Tours may be arranged by calling (815) 962-7402.

From the Jan. 21-27, 2015, issue

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