Mayor Richard M. Daley, 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, Chicago Park District Superintendent Timothy J. Mitchell and community members gathered today to dedicate the Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs gallery at South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive.
“By emphasizing the cultural and racial roots of African Americans, she taught young people that not only could they pursue their dreams and succeed but that they came from a proud and strong black heritage,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley.
The Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs Gallery features a collection of artwork created by Dr. Burroughs as early as the 1950s. In addition, various awards are on display recognizing her various achievements throughout the years. Located at the South Shore Cultural Center, the gallery will be available for viewing by the nearly 1,000 people who visit each week to participate in the various park programs and events held at the center.
“The Park District is excited to honor Commissioner Burroughs with the dedication of this gallery,” said Timothy J. Mitchell, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO. “She is an inspiration to us all and this dedication is a small way the Chicago Park District can show its appreciation.”
Dr. Burroughs was first appointed as a Commissioner to the Chicago Park District Board on May 9, 1986 by the late Mayor Harold Washington and continues to serve the Park District Board, chairing the Committee on Programs and Recreation. Born in St. Rose Parish, Louisiana on November 1, 1917, Dr. Burroughs worked as an educator in the Chicago Public Schools system from 1946 through 1969, and then became professor of Humanities at Kennedy-King College from 1969 through 1979. She also volunteered as a teacher of art and poetry at the Joliet and Statesville Correctional Facilities. She was the founder and is the President Emeritus of the DuSable Museum of African-American History in Chicago.
Her numerous honors and awards include Honorary Doctorates from Lewis University (1972), Chicago State University (1980), the Art Institute of Chicago (1987), Columbia College (1987), North Central College (1988), Rhode Island College (1990), DePaul University (1995), and Spelman College (1998). She holds a Masters Degree in Art Education from the Art Institute of Chicago. Dr. Burroughs is the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her contributions to the developments of the arts, including an appointment and citation by President Carter as a member of the National Commission on African-American History and Culture. She is also a founder of the National Conference of African –American Artists and the Near South Side Community Art Center.
“This month we celebrate the contributions that African Americans have made to this country. Chicago has a deep history of African American culture and art and Dr. Burroughs is a big part of that history,” said the Mayor.
Today, Dr. Burroughs continues to remain active in her community. She continues to perform community service at the State of Illinois prisons and various female correctional facilities weekly.