Works in the Collection
Margaret Taylor Burroughs was born in 1917 in St. Rose, Louisiana. In 1922, she and her family relocated to Chicago’s South Side. She attended the integrated Englewood High School, where she met lifelong friend Charles White. In 1932, she and White founded the Art Craft Guild where they and other young artists including Eldzier Cortor, Archibald Motley, and future husband Bernard Goss met weekly to learn the lessons and techniques being taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She studied at Chicago State and became an art teacher at DuSable High School. She and Bernard Goss married in 1939, and their home quickly became a social hub for an interracial circle of colleagues and friends. Over the course of the next decade, Burroughs completed both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and played an integral role in establishing the South Side Community Art Center. The Center was officially dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941, and at age 23, Burroughs was the youngest member of the Board of Directors. Burroughs and Bernard Goss divorced in 1947, and she married Charles Gordon Burroughs in 1949.
Social tensions fed by the Red Scare of the 1950s caused Burroughs to take a leave of absence from her teaching in 1952 and gave her the opportunity to visit her friend Elizabeth Catlett in Mexico. While there she studied at the Esmeralda School of Art and Taller de Gráfica Popular, perfecting the linocut technique that would remain her preferred medium for the rest of her career. After returning to the states she and her husband co-founded the DuSable Museum of African American History, originally known as the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art, in 1961. From the humble beginnings in their Chicago living room, the DuSable Museum is now known as the oldest museum of black culture in the United States. Margaret Burroughs died in 2010.