Ellis was born in Springfield, Illinois, on July 23, 1899, to Charlie Ellis and Carrie Farro Ellis. She was the youngest of four children in the family and the only daughter. Her parents were born in the last years of slavery in Tennessee. Ellis' mother died when she was a teen. She came out as a lesbian around 1915, and graduated from Springfield High School in 1919, at a time when fewer than seven percent of African Americans graduated from secondary school. In the 1920s, she met the only woman she ever lived with, Ceciline "Babe" Franklin. They moved together to Detroit, Michigan in 1937 where Ellis became the first American woman to own a printing business in that city. She made a living printing stationery, fliers, and posters out of her house. Ellis and Franklin's house was also known in the African American community as the "gay spot". It was a central location for gay and lesbian parties, and also served as a refuge for African American gays and lesbians. Although Ellis and Franklin eventually separated, they were together for more than 30 years. Franklin died in 1973. Throughout her life, Ellis was an advocate of the rights of gays and lesbians, and of African Americans. She died in her sleep at her home on October 5, 2000.
The Ruth Ellis Center honors the life and work of Ruth Ellis, and is one of only four agencies in the United States dedicated to homeless LGBT youth and young adults. Among their services are a drop-in center, street outreach program, transitional living programs, and emergency housing shelter.
Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit (Triangulations: Lesbian/Gay/Queer... by Marlon M. Bailey
Series: Triangulations: Lesbian/Gay/Queer Theater/Drama/Performance
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: University of Michigan Press (August 29, 2013)
Amazon: Butch Queens Up in Pumps
Butch Queens Up in Pumps examines Ballroom culture, in which inner-city LGBT individuals dress, dance, and vogue to compete for prizes and trophies. Participants are affiliated with a house, an alternative family structure typically named after haute couture designers and providing support to this diverse community. Marlon M. Bailey’s rich first-person performance ethnography of the Ballroom scene in Detroit examines Ballroom as a queer cultural formation that upsets dominant notions of gender, sexuality, kinship, and community.
More Real Life Romances at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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