1. Katherine Dunham led her own dance troupe, the Katherine Dunham Dance Company for more than 30 years.
  2. She choreographed nearly 100 works, earning the honorary title “Queen Mother of Black Dance.”
  3. She was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1909 to an African American father and Native American and French mother.
  4. She earned a degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago.
  5. Dunham studied ballet and incorporated her knowledge of anthropology with dance.
  6. She brought African, Brazilian, and Caribbean styles to the stage.
  7. Dunham formed one of the first all-black ballet companies. Her troupe performed at the Chicago World’s Fair.
  8. She left Chicago and moved to New York City where she was invited to choreograph for the Metropolitan Opera.
  9. Throughout her career she worked to raise awareness of racial injustice by refusing to perform at segregated venues.
  10. Katherine Dunham died in New York City in 2006.
  1. Eakins Press Foundation