Charles E. Phillips, Sr.

Phillips, Sr., Charles E.

Charles E. Phillips, Sr. was born May 26, 1889 in Kansas City, Missouri. His parents were Eliza Johnson and Jack Phillips. He was a grandson of David Johnson, an ex-slave, who was one of the founders of the Second Baptist Church, now known as Salem Baptist.

Early in his career, Mr. Phillips organized and managed his own musical group. Later, he became interested in politics and moved to Springfield, where he served as State Inspector for the Department of Registration and Education. He has worked with the Council of Social Agencies, has assisted in the organization of the Springfield Urban League, and has organized and promoted the Frederick Douglass Savings and Loan Company, along with his own mutual insurance company.

In 1939, he returned to Champaign to develop the Supreme Life Insurance Company. While here, he became deeply involved in community activities. He was a forerunner in promoting low-cost housing at Carver Park, Burch Village, Dunbar Court and Attucks Place. He was active in the Boy Scout program through Troop 11 for 25 years. He was an appointed member of the Champaign Housing Commission and served as honorary vice president of the Champaign County Urban League. He was elected to the board of the Nelson Home, later to become the Frances Nelson Health Center. He cooperated and served with the Social Agencies Council and the C-U League of Women Voters.

The city of Champaign named a street, located in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Subdivision, in his honor.