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 Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs  (1917 - 2010)



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Lived/Active: Illinois/Louisiana      Known for: linocut prints, modernist still life, figure and genre painting, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Obituary, Chicago Tribune November 21, 2010

Founder of DuSable Museum dies at 95

Dr. Margaret Burroughs, the principal founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History on Chicago's South Side, died today.  She was 95.

Burroughs and her husband, Charles Burroughs, founded the museum--named after Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, who is widely regarded as Chicago's first permanent resident--in 1961.  For the first ten years of its existence, the museum operated out of the Burroughs' home and she served as its executive director.

Known by many as a prominent artist and writer, Burroughs was born Nov. 1, 1915 in Saint Rose, La. and moved to Chicago with her family by the time she was a teenager.

She attended Englewood High School from where her community activism was jumpstarted when she and classmate Gwendolyn Brooks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, joined the NAACP Youth Council.

She taught art at DuSable High School in the Bronzeville neighborhood for more than 20 years.  She taught for 10 years at Kennedy-King College.  She also earned a Masters degree in Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1986, she was appointed as a commissioner for the Chicago Park District under then-Mayor Harold Washington.  Her current term would've expired in 2013.

In 1989, she won the Paul Robeson Award--named after the African American singer and actor known for his political activism in the 1950s--which was also given to other well-known figures involved in the arts including writers Studs Terkel and Maya Angelou, and actors Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier.

President Barack Obama issued the following statement:

"Michelle and I are saddened by the passing of Dr. Margaret Burroughs, who was widely admired  for her contributions to American culture as an esteemed artist, historian, educator, and mentor.   In 1961, Dr. Burroughs founded the DuSable Museum of African-American History on the South Side of Chicago, which served as a beacon of culture and a resource worldwide for African-American history.  She was also admired for her generosity and commitment to underserved communities through her children's books, art workshops and community centers that both inspired and educated young people about African-American culture."

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Burroughs' family and loved ones. Her legacy will live on in Chicago and around the world."

Tribune reporter William Lee contributed to this story.

--Jeremy Gorner

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in St Rose, Louisiana, she has been active in Afro-American projects in the Chicago area including the founding of the first African-American History and Culture Museum in the country.

In Chicago, she has taught art in the public schools, and from 1969-79 was Professor of Humanities at Kennedy-King College in Chicago. In 1939, she was one of the founders of the Chicago South Side community Art Center, the first institution of its kind in the United States--a gallery and studio space for aspiring artists.

She is also a recognized poet, with one of her works being "What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black."

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Margaret Burroughs is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Black American Artists

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