South Side Venus: The Legacy of Margaret Burroughs


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The extraordinarily productive life of curator, artist, and activist Margaret Burroughs was largely rooted in her work to establish and sustain two significant institutions in Chicago: the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC), founded in 1940, and the DuSable Museum of African American History, founded in her living room in 1961.

As Mary Ann Cain's South Side Venus: The Legacy of Margaret Burroughs reveals, the primary motivations for these efforts were love and hope. Burroughs was spurred by her love for Chicago's African American community—largely ill served by mainstream arts organizations—and by her hope that these new, black-run cultural centers would welcome many generations of aspiring artists and art lovers.

This first, long–awaited biography of Burroughs draws on interviews with peers, colleagues, friends, and family, and extensive archival research at the DuSable Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Public Library. Cain traces Burroughs's multifaceted career, details her work and residency on Chicago's South Side, and highlights her relationships with other artists and culture makers. Here, we see Burroughs as teacher and mentor as well as institution builder.

Anchored by the author's talks with Burroughs as they stroll through her beloved Bronzeville, and featuring portraits of Burroughs with family and friends, South Side Venus will enlighten anyone interested in Chicago, African American history, social justice, and the arts.


  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Northwestern University Press; 1st Edition (October 15, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 081013795X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0810137950
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
SKU: 64438

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