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By Phyllis Twachtman, World Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Valenti, A. Katherine Dunham in Tropical Revue , at New York's Martin Beck Theatre. , . [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

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Vandamm Studio. Katherine Dunham in Bal Negre. , . [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

Katherine Dunham

Katherine Dunham was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1909. Her father was African American and her mother, French Canadian. While she had many accomplishments, she is best known for advancing the field of dance through performance, teaching, mentoring and choreography. (Katherine Dunham) Her story would be remarkable regardless of her gender or race. Her achievements, however, were all the more extraordinary considering the obstacles of segregation and discrimination that she had to overcome. She was also known for her social activism, including refusal to perform in segregated venues and speaking out against discrimination. During her life she traveled the United States and the world, yet stayed true to her Illinois roots.  She touched many communities in Illinois including Chicago, Joliet, Edwardsville, and East St. Louis.  (Katherine Dunham - Katherine Dunham Biography)

The following websites are excellent sources of information about the life of Katherine Dunham:

Katherine Dunham From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts and Humanities
This official website of Katherine Dunham contains a wealth of information about her life as well as the museum and foundation that were established in her honor.

The Library of Congress website is a source of images, timeline and information about the Legacy Project.

Works Cited

“About This Collection  | Selections from the Katherine Dunham Collection  | Digital Collections  | Library of Congress.” Apple Computers: This Month in Business History (Business Reference Services, Library of Congress), Victor,

“Katherine Dunham - Katherine Dunham Biography.” Katherine Dunham - In The Media,

“Katherine Dunham.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Aug. 2018,