EXPIRED: 09/08/09 – Helen Anglin, 80, made sure there was fried chicken for all as Chicago’s “Soul Queen,” starting with a small diner that became an empire. Sure she fed Muhammad Ali & Mahalia Jackson but she made sure local soup kitchens were well stocked too.
Born Edna Lewis in Edgewater, Alabama, Anglin didn’t get past the 9th grade. She got into the restaurant business in the late 1940s with her first husband. The H&H Cafe opened with 3 stools, expanded to seven and eventually boasted 10 stools and a booth.
Two years after her divorce in 1969, she opened the Soul Queen restaurant. Four years later she opened a second.
Later in life she took up foreign languages, learned to play the piano and wrote a cookbook.
She also supported the civil rights movement and Chicago’s African-American community, investing early in black-owned banks and businesses, including Ebony and Jet magazines.
But at her heart was the Soul Queen, where she introduced herself as the “main dishwasher” and wasn’t above handling any chore that needed doing. Everyone went well fed at the Soul Queen.