From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Berry, Ella G. Tucker

(born: 1884  -  died: September 9, 1939) 

Ella Berry was born in Stanford, KY, and grew up in Louisville, KY. She was the daughter of Dave Tucker and Mathilda Portman [source: Chicago Death Record for Ella Berry]. Ella Berry later moved to Chicago, where she was one of the leading African American female political and social activists.

Berry would become president of the Cornell Charity Club; she had been a member of the organization since 1913. She was a suffragist and became the state organizer of the Hughes Colored Women's Clubs of the National Republican Headquarters in 1919. Illinois Governor Frank O. Lowden appointed her an investigator for the Chicago Commission on Race Relations. She was also president of the Women's Second Ward Protective League and a federal census enumerator in 1920.

Ella Berry was the first African American to be employed by the Chicago Department of Welfare; she was a home visitor. She was elected to the Order of the Eastern Star, and she served three terms as president of the Grand Daughter Ruler of the Daughters of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, which was the highest office a woman could hold in the organization. Berry used her positions within these various organizations to campaign for African American votes and for women's votes during presidential elections. She traveled between Louisville and Chicago, networking and making political connections between the two cities. Ella Berry was the wife of William Berry.

For more see the Ella Berry entry and picture in chapter six of The Story of the Illinois Federation of the Colored Women's Clubs, by E. L. Davis; and For the Freedom of Her Race by L. G. Materson,

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Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Berry, Ella G. Tucker,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-02-13 17:22:06