Lillian Evans was born in Washington, DC to a cultured, well-educated, middle-class family. She was the first African American woman to sing opera with an organized European company. Her mother was Annie Lillian Brooks Evans, a music teacher in the DC public school system, and her father was Wilson Bruce Evans, organizer and first principal of Armstrong Technical High School in Washington, DC. Hiram Revels, the first black U.S. senator, was her great-uncle and two other family members are credited with taking part in John Borwn's raid on Harper's Ferry. She married Howard University music professor, Roy W. Tibbs in 1918. Her stage name, Madame Evanti, is a combination of her last name and her husband's. Evans had one child, Thurlow Tibbs Sr., and two grandchildren, Diane Elizabeth and Thurlow Evans Tibbs. Thurlow Jr., operated a museum, The Evans-Tibbs Collection, which centered around the life of Lillian Evans until 1996, a year before his death.
Evans-Tibbs collection, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of the Estate of Thurlow E. Tibbs, Jr