From the Archives

Margaret Taylor Burroughs
Margaret T. Burroughs (BA 1942, MA 1948, HON 1987) photographed by Sherwood E. Fohrman for his Faces of Chicago series, which sought to combat Chicago’s Prohibition-era reputation as a gangster-ridden city through portraits of its artists and thinkers.

Few artists/educators cast a longer shadow than Margaret T. Burroughs (BA 1942, MA 1948, HON 1987), who founded the DuSable Museum of African American History and the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) in Chicago. These institutions became national models for community-based organizations. In an interview with Black Enterprise magazine, Burroughs said, “A lot of Black museums have opened up, but we’re the only one that grew out of the indigenous Black community. We weren’t started by anybody downtown; we were started by ordinary folks.”

Burroughs studied at SAIC throughout the 1940s, earning her Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Art Education. She taught for more than 20 years at DuSable High School and for 11 years at Kennedy-King College in Chicago’s Bronzeville community. Burroughs was awarded an honorary doctorate from SAIC in 1987 and was often called “Dr. Burroughs” in the community.

Upon her death in 2010, President Barack Obama praised Burroughs “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.”