Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information


Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction Poetry

Born: November 1, 1915 in St. Rose, Louisiana


Illinois Connection

Burroughs' family moved to Chicago, Illinois when she was five years old. She was raised and educated on the South side of Chicago and graduated from Englewood High School in 1933 and Chicago Teachers College in 1937. She lived in Chicago the rest of her life.

Biographical and Professional Information

Burroughs was a prominent African American poet, visual artist, writer, educator, and arts organizer. She was a co-founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History and helped to establish the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago, Illinois. She was born Margaret Taylor and moved to Chicago with her family when she was five years old. She attended the public schools of Chicago, including the Chicago Teacher's College. In 1946, she received a BA in education and in 1948, an MA in education from the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1940 to 1968, she was a teacher in the Chicago public schools and in 1969, she worked as a professor of humanities at Kennedy-King College in Chicago for the next ten years.Burroughs began her writing career by penning articles and reviews for the Associated Negro Press, founded and directed by Claude Barnett. Her work as an educator led her into writing for children. Her works in this category include ''Jasper, the Drummin’ Boy'' and the anthology ''Did You Feed My Cow?''. Burroughs has made a distinctive contribution as a poet and as an editor of poets. The bulk of her poems are published in the volumes ''What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black?'' and ''Africa, My Africa''. Her most notable work as an editor was her collaboration with Dudley Randall in the production of the commemorative volume ''For Malcolm: Poems on the Life and Death of Malcolm X''.

Published Works Expand for more information

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-- *Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, 2015