Updated: Mar 5
Remembering Our Elders- Highlights of the life of Dr. Margaret Burroughs
Artist, author, teacher, founder, civic leader, all apply to the multi-faceted Margaret
Burroughs. Victoria Margaret Taylor was born in a farm town on the Mississippi
River. The family took a train north to Chicago when she was 5 years old.
In Chicago, the Taylor home was really a coach house. She married Charles Gordon
Burroughs in 1949. Their marriage lasted over 40 years.
Margaret Burroughs holds a master’s degree from the Art Institute of Chicago as well
as completing graduate work at Columbia University. She was a professor of
Humanities at Kennedy- King College for 10 years until retiring in 1979. She also
worked as a Chicago public school teacher for over 27 years. The former school
teacher founded a cultural mecca- the Southside Community Art Center in 1941.
She also organized a national conference of black artists in 1959 and wrote numerous
articles in professional art and education journals. In 1959 she
founded the Lake Meadows Art Fair. Burroughs published several volumes of her
poems, illustrated numerous children’s books and exhibited her artwork all over the
world. Her artwork has been on special exhibit at the famous Corcoran Gallery and is
collected worldwide. Dr. Burroughs believed, “Art breaks down barriers, racial and
Mrs. Burroughs received many awards and honors from major organizations and
universities. Ms. Burroughs became one of the first African American members of the
Chicago’s Fine Arts Council. Burroughs with her husband Charles, co-founded the
DuSable Museum of African American History in her home. Later, Burroughs gained
permission from the Chicago Park District permission to use an old unused
Washington Park administration building. The DuSable Museum is one of the oldest
African American museums in America.
In 1981 she was honored as a Senior Citizen of the Year by the Chicago Park District.
Dr. Burroughs’ served as a commissioner of the Park District until
her term ended in 2008. She made her transition on November 21, 2010 leaving a
legacy of art, activism, education and beauty for generations to come.