Pauline Gates Pelmore was born January 21, 1922 at Richardville, Oklahoma. She was born on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma, and she is of Native-American, African-American, and European decent. Her mother was Cherokee Indian, and her father was Black Indian. Mrs. Pelmore was one of twelve children. When she was three years old the family moved to Arkansas. She then came to Champaign in 1957 after her siblings had all left for Champaign in search of jobs. She lived on Park Street for 41 years. Mrs. Pelmore did many jobs while she was younger but she mostly benefited from her ability to sow, which allowed her to buy two houses, one for herself and her sister. She was featured in the Covering our Heritage: African-American Quilts of Champaign-Urbana exhibit held at Krannert Art Museum in 1994. She had already started sewing and quilting at the age of four years. As a result she has made so many quilts in her life time that she is unable to keep track of them. She works on quilts and other crafts everyday and has taught others how to quilt and make various crafts.
Listen to an oral history of Pauline Gates Pelmore on eBlackCU