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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.
"Without question, this is the most serious, scholarly biography of Margaret Burroughs to date; successfully narrating the prescient details of her long life. It will appeal not only to scholars interested in particular cultural and intellectual moments in Black Chicago history, but to general readers interested in African American history, the city of Chicago, and its cultural institutions." —Bill V. Mullen, author of Popular Fronts: Chicago and African-American Cultural Politics, 1935–46