The Charm Centre

The Charm Centre, 1948. Paul Henderson, MdHS, HEN.00.B2-164.

The Charm Centre, 1948. Paul Henderson, MdHS, HEN.00.B2-164.

The owners of this upscale women’s dress store, William “Little Willie” Lloyd Adams and wife Victorine Quille Adams, had impressive resumes that contributed to the civil rights struggle. Willie Adams, multi-million dollar illegal lotteries operator turned legitimate businessman, funded aspiring Black entrepreneurs during a time when banks would not lend to Blacks. He also funded desegregation lawsuits. Victorine Adams was a highly regarded woman for both her poise and political accomplishment. In 1946, she directed the “Register-to-Vote” campaign which resulted in thousands of new voters. She was the first elected woman of any race to be appointed to the Baltimore City Council in 1967.

Image information:

The Charm Centre

1811 Pennsylvania Avenue, Baltimore
September 1948
4 in. x 5 in. acetate negative
Paul Henderson Photograph Collection, HEN.00.B2-164

Google Maps Street View of 1811 Pennsylvania Avenue today:

Diminutive Mrs. Adams received ‘giant’ tribute. (May 10, 1958). Afro-American newspaper.
Smith, F. (2008). Here Lies Jim Crow: Civil Rights in Maryland. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Pietila, A. (2010). Not in My Neighborhood:  How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City. Ivan R. Dee, Publisher.


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