Arcola Philpott was born Arcola Ruffins on July 21, 1913. She married Robert Philpott and had two children, Robert Jr. and Ethel. Arcola was an accomplished pianist and spoke several foreign languages. Prior to coming out to Los Angeles from Chicago, she performed welfare work for seven years and also worked in research for the University of Chicago's History Department.She attended Loyola University studying social science, and attended City College while in Los Angeles. We located her 1945 payroll record in our archives and discovered that she lived near the corner of Adams and Central, at 1119 E. Adams, near the heart of the vibrant Central Avenue jazz district.
Arcola worked out of Arthur Winston Division 5 and drove the “F” line from 116th/South Vermont Avenue to Union Station traveling up Vermont to Santa Barbara (now Martin Luther King Boulevard), Grand, Jefferson, Main, Macy (now Cesar Chavez) to the Union Station Passenger terminal. While in Los Angeles, she also worked at the Brown Derby restaurant.
After she returned to Chicago, she worked as a licensed practical nurse as well as a journalist for the Chicago Defender and Pittsburgh Courier. In her later years she worked as a docent for the Museum of Science and Industry and the Chicago Public Library. Arcola Philpott passed away on May 14, 1991. She is survived by her daughter, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
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