Peoria celebrates life, legacy of local trailblazer, Elise Ford Allen

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Peoria native and local trailblazer, Elise Ford Allen, passed away Wednesday at the age of 100, according to her family.

Born on July 29, 1921, Allen was the founder of The Traveler Weekly Newspaper, the longest-running, black-owned newspaper in Peoria. It is still operational today. Allen started the paper in 1966, reportedly becoming the first African-American woman in Illinois to edit and publish a newspaper.

On July 27, 2021, Governor J.B. Pritzker recognized Allen with a proclamation for her groundbreaking journalism and community activism work. In it, she was described as a civil rights activist, publisher, writer and women’s rights activist, whose work created changes in Peoria County for equal rights and improvements for people of color and women.

A celebration of life and memorial service is being planned for Allen in spring, at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.

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