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Community honors ‘Elgin’s Own Icon’

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Posted: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 3:30 pm

Dorothy McCarther was honored as “Elgin’s Own Icon” Saturday evening, highlighting the local NAACP’s sixth annual City Black History Showcase. Mrs. McCarther, who is celebrating her 25th year as owner of Dorothy’s Fine Jewelry, was praised by friends, family and the City of Elgin for a lifetime of contributions.

Economic Development Director Amy Miller, representing the city, read a moving proclamation from Mayor Chris Cannon and described how McCarther’s faith and courage helped revive downtown Elgin, when she was one of the first businesses to re-locate to Depot Street 20 years ago. The jewelry store was one of only two or three retail businesses downtown at the time, she said. 

Miller praised McCarther’s civic commitment, as well, noting she was the first black woman to sit on the Elgin school board and is still a standing Planning and Zoning Board member and remains one of the community’s most active volunteers.

Mrs. McCarther started in the jewelry business in Austin. Her responsibilities included winding watches and untying knots on chain necklaces. She credits the patience she employed as the reason her employer encouraged her to become certified gemologist with her own business. Personal tributes offered included Mrs. McCarther’s granddaughter, Alethea, who said her grandmother has been her “Preacher, doctor, counselor and lawyer. She’s the head honcho.”

Elsie Williams and Thomas Clark co-chaired the event, which also featured a tribute to veterans, an often-hilarious past to present history of African American highlights by Cheryl Thomas and music by Carolyn Carter, Midorie Clark and Gary McWilson. 

This year’s Toast Master was Willie Tompkins Jr.

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