Margaret Burroughs Collection
740 East 56th Place
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Extent: 70 Linear Feet
Finding Aid: None
Access to this collection is restricted; please contact the holding institution for details.
Artist, educator and institution builder Margaret Burroughs was born on November 1, 1917, in Saint Rose, Louisiana. Always passionate about learning, Margaret moved north to Chicago in order to earn her elementary teacher's certificate, which she received in 1937 from Chicago Normal College. She continued her education first at Chicago Teachers College and later at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she earned her B.A. degree in art education in 1946 and her M.A. degree in 1948. Burroughs made the first of her many contributions to African American arts and culture when she founded – at age twenty-two – the South Side Community Arts Center, a community organization that serves as a gallery and workshop studio for artists and students. Burroughs continues to serve on the board of the Center, which remains active more than sixty years after its formation.
During the mid-1950s, Burroughs married Charles Burroughs. After extended travels together, the Burroughs' made the best-known contribution to African American posterity in 1961 when they founded the DuSable Museum of African American History on the ground floor of their Chicago home. The museum, which has since moved to its own buildings in Chicago's Washington Park, has become an internationally recognized resource for African American art. The DuSable Museum also hosts various educational programs and houses a permanent collection of more than thirteen thousand artifacts, artworks and books. Although Burroughs has worked in sculpture, painting and many other art forms throughout her career, it is her exceptional skill as a printmaker that has earned her a place within the history of art. For many years, she has worked with linoleum block prints to create images evocative of African American culture. Burroughs' work has been featured in exclusive shows at the Corcoran Art Galleries in Washington, D.C., and at the Studio Museum in New York. She has served as art director for the Negro Hall of Fame and has illustrated many books, including What Shall I Tell My Children Who are Black?. Burroughs has also published several volumes of her own poems, illustrated a number of children's books, and exhibited her own artwork all over the world. In 1975 she received the President's Humanitarian Award and in 1977 was named one of Chicago's Most Influential Women by the Chicago Defender. February 1, 1986, was proclaimed "Dr. Margaret Burroughs Day" in Chicago by late Mayor Harold Washington.
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