Estelle Black was born in Rockford IL, on January 20th, 1932. Estelle’s parents, Thomas and Esther Elmore migrated for New Orleans, Louisiana, married in Rockford in 1922 and had two children; Estelle and Thomas Jr. While growing up, Estelle lived in southwest Rockford; Estelle’s mother had a millinery shop and wrote poetry, she had a love for reading that carried over to her daughter, her father worked at Gunite pouring hot molten metal. The family was members of the Allen Chapel Church. Estelle says that “The church was a social center when I grew up. Religion is very important to an African American family.” Estelle graduated from West High school and later moved to Evanston Illinois while she attended Kendall College. Estelle was studding for her undergraduate degree and with her love of reading, she worked in the library at Northwestern University.
Coming back to Rockford before graduating college, Estelle started to work for the Board of Education as a clerical; she worked there for 11 years. While working she earned her degree from Northern Illinois University, shortly after she got a job at the Rockford Public Library. Estelle then went to University of Wisconsin at Madison to get her masters in Library Science. She had many great opportunities including Manager at the Montague Branch Library, then getting promoted to Associate Director of the entire library, plus spent 20 years in that position.
Now a mother of four and an accomplished student and librarian, Estelle Elmore Black has served the community in every way she can. She is the one of the founders of Taus Incorporated, which is an organization that had an endowment for the development of African American Females. The Rock Valley College Library is now named in Estelle’s honor.
“Life has rewards and challenges, but we must step out in good faith and make an effort to be successful. We all have to do this. We all have to be the one to move forward and step out in faith with a smile on our face in order to be successful in our lives.” – Estelle Elmore Black.
Black Rockfordians: Their Journey through the Forest City, pg.3-4