The DuSable Museum of African American History
One of BAIA Foundation’s 2022 initiatives is instituting marketing assistance for African American Museums and Cultural Centers.
The DuSable Museum of African American History was founded more than 60 years ago, in February 1961, by husband and wife team, Dr. Margaret Taylor Burroughs and Charles Burroughs, on the ground floor of their home. Originally named the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art, the Burroughs wanted to do pretty much what we’re doing here at BAIA–educate the public about Black history, culture, and art.
One of our favorite quotes here at BAIA is by Dr. Margaret, which asks “What will your legacy be?” She passed in 2010 and left a remarkable legacy that’s still making a difference for Black artists, for Black girls and women, and for Black people in general.
With a few dedicated colleagues and a dream, the artist/educator/writer/activist Margaret Taylor Burroughs established the first independent museum celebrating Black culture in this country. The first! The Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art was inaugurated that very year in the Burroughs’ home on Chicago’s iconic South Side. Burroughs was proud that the Museum was “the only one that grew out of the indigenous Black community.”
At its 60th anniversary, the Museum—since named to honor Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable, the Haitian-born founder of Chicago—has welcomed millions of visitors to its home in Chicago’s historic Washington Park to experience exhibitions that impacted their city, their state, and the entire nation. Here are some of the current exhibitions:
- Un(re)solved, for instance, illuminates the names and stories of those whose cases were re-examined under the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act. This event is ongoing until March 22nd.
- Troubled Waters takes viewers back to Chicago’s role in what’s been named “Red Summer,” where Black folk in more than 30 cities across the nation rioted against White terrorism in 1919.
- Fighting Racism in the Trenches focuses on Kathryn Magnolia Johnson, an unsung shero who served during World War I and later established the Ezella Mathis Carter Home for Colored Working Women in Bronzeville to provide resources and housing for Black girls and young women who pursued an education.
- South Side Stories explores the impact of Dr. Margaret Burroughs on the art world and Chicago community.
Beyond the exhibitions is the community work. The Dreams of Peace and Wellness event to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which consisted of yoga, a virtual film screening about MLK, meditation, and open discussion about the legacy and impact of Dr. King. The conversation with Fred Hampton Jr. The partnering with the Smithsonian to offer an online video that offers solutions to the problem of gaps in health policy as it pertains to Black women. (It’s still available for viewing too.)
The DuSable is a convener; a point of connection; and a place where difficult conversations lead to reconciliation and renewal. And, as a beacon of strength and a refuge of reason, the Museum is a vital part of a socially equitable reconciliation of our nation’s historic divisions. To further honor the DuSable being the first non-profit museum dedicated to the collection, documentation, preservation, study, and dissemination of the history and culture of Africans and African Americans, the BAIA Foundation decided to make the DuSable our first museum to highlight as part of our 2022 initiative.
If you haven’t been yet, definitely add it to your list of places to check out. And if you love your experience, whether digital or in-person, become a member. They have a number of options, all including access to their premium digital content.
THE BLACK ART IN AMERICA (BAIA) FOUNDATION is a 501c3 organization that applies what we’ve learned over our 12 years as a multifaceted arts company to facilitate the growth of artists while cultivating the relationships and opportunities that bring Black artists and communities together.
We invite you to become a monthly supporter of the BAIA Foundation. Starting at just $3 a month, YOU become a stakeholder and begin to help us transform lives through art. We are growing the BAIA team and will use your contributions to hire more team members for the purpose of creating more educational and marketing resources for schools and universities about african american artists both past and present. Such art initiatives and educational programming like Blacklite with Steve Prince, Relating to Art with Dr. Kelli Morgan, and BAIA BITS would not be possible without the ongoing support of our Patreon members. Please consider becoming a monthly Patreon member today!
Review our list of rewards for becoming a BAIA Patreon / patron supporter. Your monthly contribution has lasting benefits. — “What will your legacy be” – Dr. Margaret Burroughs
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