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James Hughes – Parents - Lorenzo Hughes & Elizabeth Perkins-Step-Father Johnny Perkins

Genovia Hughes – Parents - Willie Brown & Martha Warfield (Step-Mother Blanche Brown)

Hughes Family Story

Submitted by JoAnn Hughes 2019

Family ties are very important to the Hughes family. James and Genovia followed their parents to West Des Moines. Willie Brown, when married to  Blanche Brown, became an officer of the Labor Union that started in the 1930s. Johnnie Perkins, who married Elizabeth Perkins, worked for the City of West Des Moines Sanitation Department in the 1950’s.  James and Genovia Hughes moved from Rich, Mississippi and arrived in West Des Moines, Iowa in 1946 moving into Genovia’s father, Willie Brown’s property at 103-11th Street. James and Genovia married in 1948 in West Des Moines, Iowa, and their new budding family included one son Lee Earl Hughes.  To support their family and create roots in Iowa, James found employment with Lovejoy Construction from 1946-1966. Genovia was a housekeeper for E.T Meredith of Meredith Publishing Company and Mrs. Comfort from 1948 to 1988.  Later the Hughes were blessed with more children James, Jr., Freddie Lee, Janie and JoAnn. The growing Hughes family moved to a larger home at 127-11th street where they were blessed with their last child Terry. 

The Hughes children focused on their careers, the community,  and continued to grow the family. Lee followed in this dad’s footsteps in the construction business.  Lee also had three children. Junior had one child and made a career in the meat packing plant. Freddie had a love of dance and could turn an event out. He was the family's James Brown by wearing the same hair style, marcel waves and pompadour, and donning a cape. As Freddie performed for family and friends, his sisters were the background singers. When the tips came in, they twisted harder! He kept the family laughing. Freddie had one child. Janie made a career in insurance and accounting. Janie’s love of family manifested in her four children, adopting three children, and being a foster parent to numerous children for over 30 years. JoAnn had two children, and her career and volunteerism involved managing, coaching, and instructing people. Her volunteer work included Le Chic Fashion Ensemble co-director and instructor starting in 1989 at the Willike House, Miss Black Iowa and Miss Black Teen coach, Des Moines Gateway Dance Theater,  and co-foundered with Terrance Martin and Mary Noel the Capital City Steppers Des Moines, IA  established in 2011. The youngest sibling, Terry, coached community youth baseball teams, spent life in the field of insurance as an underwriter, and blessed the family with four children. In total there are 18 grandchildren and over 40 great and great-great grandchildren.

Power Legacy

Charles Lamont Lovelady Trust Scholarship Fund  In 2000 JoAnn’s son Charles Lovelady tragically died while in a chokehold of a bouncer.  The Hughes family joined together to fight the use of chokeholds and leave a powerful legacy. The Charles Lamont Lovelady Trust Scholarship Fund was established in his honor and memory in the year 2000. The scholarship annually supports deserving students to continue their college education. Contributions from the community, corporations, and organizations of Des Moines and surrounding areas make it possible. Bouncer Bill requiring bouncer training to be required for a liquor license was proposed by the Hughes family with support from Concerned Citizens for Justice and (Rep.) Ako Abdul-Samad. Due to lack of funding the pilot for the bill ended.

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