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The H3O/Art of Life Blog

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Black History Makers and the Making of Black History

By Dr. Gloria Latimore-Peace

Presented by Omni-University

When Ancestor Carter Godwin Woodson conceptualized and founded The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, in 1926, his goals were to advocate for the study of our history as well as to emphasize the need for the study of the "Negro" in history. Woodson, who is known as the "Father of Negro History" is also credited for having founded "Negro History Week", the celebration that is now known as "Black History Month".

Ancestor Dr. Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs, who is known, primarily, as the Co-Founder of both The Dusable Museum and The South Side Community Art Center, should also be recognized as the "Mother of Black History" for her contributions to the building and maintenance of enduring institutions that preserve the history that both she and Woodson revered. Mother Burroughs and Father Woodson serve(d) as real models who honored what they wrote.[1] In "What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black...? Dr. Burroughs wrote:

"What shall I do to insure That each and every one of them might survive? And survive they must for who knows? Perhaps some one of my [B]lack children here Might possess the genius to discover the cure for cancer Or, to chart the course for the exploration of the universe.."[2]

Or, perhaps, some one (or more) of "her" children would heed the call to follow in her footsteps. Mother Burroughs' love for and belief in "her" children was undoubtedly the impetus for her personal nurturing of Debra Hand, who continues to pay homage to Dr. Burroughs' legacy by retracing her footsteps. While yet a fledgling artist who, as she taught her young son to paint as a pastime and to sculpt for a school project, became enamored of these modes of creativity while revealing her talents to a growing audience of admirers.

As destiny would have it, she was given the opportunity to present one of her early sculptures to Dr. Burroughs at Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church in Chicago. From that point on, Dr. Burroughs took it upon herself not only to mentor Debra Hand but also to launch her stellar career.Since that time, Debra Hand has become one of the most commissioned female sculptors in Chicago when it comes to honoring African-Americans of historical significance. As Hand put it: "Dr. Burroughs took me from crayons to the Smithsonian." The ways in which Dr. Burroughs continues to "Mother" Debra Hand's artistic development are ongoing but, to date, it can be said that Debra Hand is a self-taught artist whose gift was discovered by the legendary Dr. Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs who arranged for Hand's first public exhibit. She is a painter, writer, and an award-winning sculptor whose works are preserved in world class institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the Dusable Museum in Chicago. Illinois. She is the creator of the historic bronze statue of Paul Laurence Dunbar, which was unveiled on September 6, 2014 in Dunbar Park, Chicago- one of the few works to be included in the "Talking Statues" Series.

Among the History Makers who own her works are: The renowned sculptor, Richard Hunt, Former President Barack Obama; Hillary Clinton; Harry Belafonte; "Smokey "Robinson; Yo Yo Ma; Spike Lee; Seal; Sinbad; and, in addition, Ancestors Winnie Mandela; Dr. Maya Angelou; Abena Joan Brown; Theresa Fambro-Hooks; and Cicely Tyson. Debra Hand holds a Master of Science Degree from the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. She currently writes on Black Arts and Artists for the Black Arts in America publication (linked).

Artist Debra Hand and Dr. Gloria Latimore-Peace (Mother)

You are invited to watch, "Paul Laurence Dunbar Unveiled", the "H3O Art of Life Show" featuring: Artist Debra Hand, et al.

Musical selection dedicated to Debra Hand

Blog Notes [1] " The Miseducation of the Negro " by Ancestor Carter G. Woodson [2] "Life with Margaret " by Ancestor Dr. Margaret T. G.

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