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Amina J. Dickerson

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Information about Amina J. Dickerson

Profile image of Amina J. Dickerson

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Playwright
Foundation Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Brazil
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
2/21/1954
Birth Location:
Washington, District of Columbia

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Playwright
Foundation Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Brazil
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
2/21/1954
Birth Location:
Washington
See how Amina J. Dickerson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Arts administrator and foundation executive, Amina J. Dickerson was born Jill L. Dickerson on February 2, 1954 in Washington, D.C. to Ann Lee Stewart Dickerson and Julius James Dickerson. While in high school, Dickerson wrote a ritual play entitled, The Journey, which bore witness to cultural and personal transformation. Attending Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1972, Dickerson produced her play "The Journey" and then took it on tour. Her theatrical activities brought her back to Washington where she was hired as an administrator by Arena Stage.

After completing the Harvard Program in arts administration in 1974, she joined the National Museum of African Art where she became director of education through 1982. There, she staged public programs including a tribute to Langston Hughes which featured musical group, Sweet Honey in the Rock, jazz and a script by Dr. Eleanor Traylor. Dickerson served as assistant director of Philadelphia’s Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum in 1983. In 1984, she became the new president of Chicago’s venerable DuSable Museum of African American History and Culture. While serving at DuSable, Dickerson served as a consultant with the Schomburg Center for Black Research while earning her M.A. degree in arts administration from the American University in 1988. Joining the staff of the Chicago Historical Society in 1989, Dickerson brought in the “I Dream a World” exhibit and established the Sojourner Truth Mentoring Program for young women. In 1994, she became director of education and public programs for the museum. After a fellowship with Newberry Library and a stint as “distinguished visitor” at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Dickerson served as coordinator of the Arts in Education program of the Kraft Foods Company in 1997. There, she was promoted to director of corporate giving, and in 2003 she became senior director of Global Community Involvement. Now, on the other side of the philanthropy table, Dickerson funded valuable initiatives in health, hunger, education and the arts.

Retiring in 2009, Dickerson continues to serve the community through her activities on the boards of the Harris Center for Music and Dance at Millennium Park, co-chair of the Peer Network for International Giving of the Donor’s Forum and vice chair of the International Committee of the Council of Foundations. Dickerson was honored as Chicago Professional Grantor of the Year in 2002, Chicagoan of the Year in 2004 and she received the Legacy Award from the ETA Creative Arts Foundation and the Annual Sor Juana Award from the Mexican Fine Arts Center. The Jazz Institute honored her with the Tim Black Award for Community Service in 2006. Dickerson has presented on various arts and community issues and serves as a consultant to various arts, cultural and philanthropic organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dickerson lives in Chicago with her husband Julian Roberts.

Dickerson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 17, 2009.

See how Amina J. Dickerson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Amina J. Dickerson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Amina J. Dickerson lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Amina J. Dickerson describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Amina J. Dickerson talks about her mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Amina J. Dickerson describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Amina J. Dickerson talks about her father's education and career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Amina J. Dickerson describes how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Amina J. Dickerson describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Amina J. Dickerson remembers her neighborhood in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Amina J. Dickerson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls her early exposure to the arts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Amina J. Dickerson lists her siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls her start at the Workshops for Careers in the Arts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Amina J. Dickerson describes her performances with the Workshops for Careers in the Arts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Amina J. Dickerson talks about her schooling
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Amina J. Dickerson remembers her trip to Italy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls her high school aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls writing and producing 'The Journey: A Black Ritual Experience'
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls the prevalence of discrimination in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Amina J. Dickerson talks about the African American community in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Amina J. Dickerson describes the rituals in her play, 'The Journey'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Amina J. Dickerson talks about the spiritual component of her play, 'The Journey'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Amina J. Dickerson talks about her experiences of discrimination in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Amina J. Dickerson remembers restaging 'The Journey: A Black Ritual Experience'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls producing 'The Journey' in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Amina J. Dickerson describes her transition to the field of arts administration
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls the members of the Living Stage Theatre Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls her experiences at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Amina J. Dickerson remembers the Institute in Arts Administration at Harvard University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls her work at the Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Amina J. Dickerson describes the programs at the Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Amina J. Dickerson remembers moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls her challenges at the Afro American Historical and Cultural Museum in Philadelphia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls her dismissal from the Afro American Historical and Cultural Museum in Philadelphia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Amina J. Dickerson remembers seeking a position at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls joining the staff of the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Amina J. Dickerson talks about her presidency of the DuSable Museum of African American History
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her achievements at the DuSable Museum of African American History
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Amina J. Dickerson talks about the challenges faced by African American museums, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Amina J. Dickerson talks about the challenges faced by African American museums, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her conflicts with Margaret Burroughs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her tenure at the DuSable Museum of African American History
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls her transition to the Chicago Historical Society
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Amina J. Dickerson describes the programs of the Chicago Historical Society
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Amina J. Dickerson remembers meeting her husband
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Amina J. Dickerson talks about her fellowships
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Amina J. Dickerson remembers joining the Kraft Foods Group, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Amina J. Dickerson describes her role at the Kraft Foods Group, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Amina J. Dickerson recalls her retirement from the Kraft Foods Group, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Amina J. Dickerson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Amina J. Dickerson shares her motto
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Amina J. Dickerson describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Amina J. Dickerson narrates her photographs