Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Katherine Dunham  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction

Born: 1909 in Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Dunham was born in Chicago. As a child, she lived in Glen Ellyn, the south side of Chicago and Joliet, Illinois. In 1965, Dunham became an artist-in-residence at Southern University in Carbondale. In 1967, the Equal Opportunity Commission, as part of the Southern Illinois University's Experiment in Higher Education, funded Dunham's proposal for creating a Performing Arts Training Center (PATC) in East Saint Louis. A cultural education program at the Alton campus of Southern Illinois University was established with two former members of the Dunham company and classes at Rock Junior High School in East Saint Louis were also established. She returned from Southern Illinois University in 1982 and received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville in 1983.

Biographical and Professional Information

Dunham was an American dancer, choreographer, and company director as well as an author, educator, and social activist. Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers in American and European theater of the 20th century and has been called the "matriarch and queen mother of black dance."

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