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Amina J. Dickerson

Art consultant 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.

Accession Number

A2009.148

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/17/2009

Last Name

Dickerson

Maker Category
Middle Name

J.

Schools

John Burroughs Elementary School

St. Anthony Catholic School

Academy of Notre Dame

Emerson College

Institute in Arts Administration at Harvard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Amina

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

DIC05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/21/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Short Description

Art consultant Amina J. Dickerson (1954 - ) was the director of global community involvement for the Kraft Foods Company until 2009. Dickerson also served in executive capacities with Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History and the Chicago Historical Society.

Employment

Living Stage Theatre Company

Museum of African Art

Philadelphia’s Afro American Historical and Cultural Museum

DuSable Museum of African American History

Chicago Historical Society

Kraft Foods Group, Inc.,

Favorite Color

Yellow

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620013">Tape: 1 Slating of Amina J. Dickerson's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620014">Tape: 1 Amina J. Dickerson lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620015">Tape: 1 Amina J. Dickerson describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620016">Tape: 1 Amina J. Dickerson talks about her mother's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620017">Tape: 1 Amina J. Dickerson describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620018">Tape: 1 Amina J. Dickerson talks about her father's education and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620019">Tape: 1 Amina J. Dickerson describes how her parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620020">Tape: 1 Amina J. Dickerson describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620021">Tape: 1 Amina J. Dickerson remembers her neighborhood in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620022">Tape: 1 Amina J. Dickerson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620023">Tape: 2 Amina J. Dickerson recalls her early exposure to the arts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620024">Tape: 2 Amina J. Dickerson lists her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620025">Tape: 2 Amina J. Dickerson recalls her start at the Workshops for Careers in the Arts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620026">Tape: 2 Amina J. Dickerson describes her performances with the Workshops for Careers in the Arts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620027">Tape: 2 Amina J. Dickerson talks about her schooling</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620028">Tape: 2 Amina J. Dickerson remembers her trip to Italy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620029">Tape: 2 Amina J. Dickerson recalls her high school aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620030">Tape: 2 Amina J. Dickerson recalls writing and producing 'The Journey: A Black Ritual Experience'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620031">Tape: 2 Amina J. Dickerson recalls the prevalence of discrimination in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620032">Tape: 2 Amina J. Dickerson talks about the African American community in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620033">Tape: 3 Amina J. Dickerson describes the rituals in her play, 'The Journey'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620034">Tape: 3 Amina J. Dickerson talks about the spiritual component of her play, 'The Journey'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620035">Tape: 3 Amina J. Dickerson talks about her experiences of discrimination in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620036">Tape: 3 Amina J. Dickerson remembers restaging 'The Journey: A Black Ritual Experience'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620037">Tape: 3 Amina J. Dickerson recalls producing 'The Journey' in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620038">Tape: 3 Amina J. Dickerson describes her transition to the field of arts administration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620039">Tape: 3 Amina J. Dickerson recalls the members of the Living Stage Theatre Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620040">Tape: 4 Amina J. Dickerson recalls her experiences at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620041">Tape: 4 Amina J. Dickerson remembers the Institute in Arts Administration at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620042">Tape: 4 Amina J. Dickerson recalls her work at the Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620043">Tape: 4 Amina J. Dickerson describes the programs at the Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620044">Tape: 4 Amina J. Dickerson remembers moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620045">Tape: 4 Amina J. Dickerson recalls her challenges at the Afro American Historical and Cultural Museum in Philadelphia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620046">Tape: 4 Amina J. Dickerson recalls her dismissal from the Afro American Historical and Cultural Museum in Philadelphia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620047">Tape: 4 Amina J. Dickerson remembers seeking a position at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620048">Tape: 5 Amina J. Dickerson recalls joining the staff of the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620049">Tape: 5 Amina J. Dickerson talks about her presidency of the DuSable Museum of African American History</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620050">Tape: 5 Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her achievements at the DuSable Museum of African American History</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620051">Tape: 5 Amina J. Dickerson talks about the challenges faced by African American museums, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620052">Tape: 5 Amina J. Dickerson talks about the challenges faced by African American museums, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620053">Tape: 5 Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her conflicts with Margaret Burroughs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620054">Tape: 5 Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her tenure at the DuSable Museum of African American History</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620055">Tape: 5 Amina J. Dickerson recalls her transition to the Chicago Historical Society</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620056">Tape: 5 Amina J. Dickerson describes the programs of the Chicago Historical Society</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620057">Tape: 6 Amina J. Dickerson remembers meeting her husband</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620058">Tape: 6 Amina J. Dickerson talks about her fellowships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620059">Tape: 6 Amina J. Dickerson remembers joining the Kraft Foods Group, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620060">Tape: 6 Amina J. Dickerson describes her role at the Kraft Foods Group, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620061">Tape: 6 Amina J. Dickerson recalls her retirement from the Kraft Foods Group, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620062">Tape: 6 Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620063">Tape: 6 Amina J. Dickerson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620064">Tape: 7 Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620065">Tape: 7 Amina J. Dickerson reflects upon her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620066">Tape: 7 Amina J. Dickerson shares her motto</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620067">Tape: 7 Amina J. Dickerson describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/620068">Tape: 7 Amina J. Dickerson narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Amina J. Dickerson recalls her early exposure to the arts
Amina J. Dickerson talks about the spiritual component of her play, 'The Journey'
Transcript
What were you like growing up? What were you interested in in and what kind of information did you come in contact with that shaped, you know?$$Well the arts were always a part of our life. We spent a lot of time especially in muggy hot humid Washington, D.C. The only place you could find air conditioning was very often with museums that are free. So we spent a lot of time in the Smithsonian museums [Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.] and Ann and Dick [Dickerson's parents, Ann Stewart Dickerson and Julius Dickerson] made a priority for us to have the exposure to dance and to music and to theater. So we did Shakespeare [William Shakespeare] in the park that was free down near the Washington Monument [Washington, D.C.] we went and sat on the steps of the Ellipsis [sic. The Ellipse, Washington, D.C.] and hear musical concerts. We got hauled over to the Marine barracks to hear the Marine bands which as you can tell not one of my favorites. We always saw 'Nutcracker' ['The Nutcracker,' Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky]. They just really were culture freaks and we got it from a very early age. We had a wonderful, a wonderful amphitheater the Carter Barron Amphitheatre [Washington, D.C.] off of 16th Street. It was kind of like Ravinia [Ravinia Park] is in Chicago [sic. Highland Park, Illinois]. But they would get season tickets again don't know how they managed season tickets for a family of eight and we got to see all the musicals of the day. We saw 'Guys and Dolls,' we saw 'West Side Story' [Arthur Laurents], we saw 'My Fair Lady' [Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe], we saw 'Camelot' [Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe], we saw 'Carousel' [Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II]. You know, we'd get to see New York City Ballet. I'll never forget one day we waited back stage for [HistoryMaker] Arthur Mitchell to come out and everybody had gone and so we had Arthur Mitchell cornered and got to take him back to his hotel, you know, and talk with him about his career and we chatted him up all the way. I'm sure he was very happy to get out of that station wagon. But it was, it was a kind of defining experience to have the arts always validated and always around us. So we were avid readers. We all read all the time. We did a lot of camping as a family 'cause once again you've got six kids and a limited budget. They paid for us to go to Catholic school so that was a priority and for us to get away we camped around the country. So we'd camped up to Canada for the World's Fair there, we camped out to Wyoming, we'd camp up into Upstate New York and see friends. Again really wonderful eye opening experiences helping us feel that we could be connected to the world that it was ours. There was no barrier for that. We'd talk--my mother would also really talk about the racism and the history. I remember going to Monticello [Charlottesville, Virginia] and her taking us around to the back of Monticello and pointing at those bricks and saying, "You see those bricks? Those bricks were built by slaves so don't ever think that you don't have a part of this legacy. You built this legacy." She would always point that out to us throughout that time. So I started really doing little neighborhood theater things at an early age. You know, my first breakout performance on television was actually on one of the kid's TV shows where they invited you to come up, you know, and who can do something. I'll never forget this was something that akin to 'Captain Kangaroo' or one of those afternoon shows and I put my hand up and they said. "Well come up. What can you do," and I said, "I can whistle." They said, "Okay, well whistle," and nothing came out and I'll never live that down. My brothers [Jan Dickerson, Jaffe Dickerson, Jason Dickerson and Julian Dickerson] were in the audience and they started howling with laughter. So of course the whole family heard that, but--$$How old were you then?$$Oh I think I was five or six years old something like that.$We're talking about ritual theater in, in your play 'The Journey' ['The Journey: A Black Ritual Experience,' Amina J. Dickerson]--$$Yes.$$--what you were trying to accomplish.$$Yes.$$You had to ride herd or try and control the energy on some level of the actors (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah the energy of the room. You know, again, as, as someone who did not have that ritual experience in the church and not out of an affluent African experience. It was at once quite exhilarating and scared me to death but you recognized it as the director you are responsible for these souls that are now in your hands. You know, I guess it was one of the first times that I understood how things work through you. Sometimes you don't have to really understand everything but if it works through you and you just have faith in it, it sort of helped me know what to do how to bring people back down to the state of normalcy of calm. It did get me a reputation as something of a sorceress or something. But they were just magical performances and I think that was part of the power of, of that show.$$I didn't ask this, well I shouldn't, but I'm going to ask this anyway. Did it make, does it make you reflect basically upon what happens with spirituality with people in general? I mean, like when people do that in the church they can do it in Yoruba or they can do it (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, and it's so funny, 'cause--$$--but that's a core of whatever the spirituality is.$$It's about a connection and it's about an openness. You have to be open for something for you to receive that, for you to touch those places in yourself. It was so funny because just that makes me reflect on attending candomble services in Brazil and then coming back to a black Baptist church on the West Side [Chicago, Illinois] for the christening of some cousin's children and a woman got the spirit. The way that people move in circles and the way that they react when, when, you know, divine horseman when your head gets taken, when the spirit enters. You really see that that really is of a piece there's not that separation by geography, by religion, by cultural tradition. Ultimately it is about possession in this most glorious way. And so that's what was happening in this production, you know. I had read about it and certainly I knew about it from my exposure to the black theater experience and [HistoryMaker] Barbara Ann Teer and all of that but then it's in your rehearsal room, okay, or it's on your stage. And the idea that every time you did that ritual this might happen out there with an audience and how do you help people move through that to come back to script. So it was, it was an exhilarating time. It really, really was.

Madeline Murphy Rabb

Collector, dealer and lover of art Madeline Murphy Rabb was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 27, 1945. The second of five children, Rabb is the daughter of a television personality and a judge. After completing high school, Rabb attended the University of Maryland in 1961. Leaving there in 1963, she went to the Maryland Institute College of Art, earning a B.F.A. in 1966. After moving to Chicago, she attended the Illinois Institute of Technology, earning an M.S. in 1975.

Upon completing her bachelor's degree, Rabb moved to Chicago and took a position with Tuesday Publications as assistant director of art and production. After taking several years off to devote herself to her family and various civic activities, Rabb became the vice president and business manager of Myra Everett Designs in 1977. From there, she went on to Corporate Concierge as an account executive in 1978, and in 1979 she opened Madeline Murphy Rabb Studio, where she created and sold original works. In 1983, Rabb was hired by the city of Chicago to serve as its executive director of fine arts, a position she held for seven years, during which time she heightened the organization's national visibility. After working as a freelance art consultant for a few years, Rabb once again opened her own business, Murphy Rabb, Inc. (MRI), in 1992, where she remains as president. MRI serves corporate, governmental and private clients, helping them conceptualize and build important art collections. Recently, MRI implemented the art program for the John Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County.

Rabb has also traveled the country lecturing, serving on panels and participating in workshops on a wide variety of issues. She is the curator of African American art collections at Ariel Capital Management and Brown Capital Management, and she has served on the Illinois Arts Council, the Folk Art Advisory Committee of the Field Museum of Natural American History, and the Woman's Board of the Museum of Contemporary Art. She has testified before congressional panels on the National Endowment for the Arts and has had her original works published in several books. Rabb has also made several television appearances, including on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Her husband, Dr. Maurice Rabb, passed away in 2005. They have two children.

Accession Number

A2003.248

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/7/2003

Last Name

Rabb

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Murphy

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

University of Maryland

Maryland Institute College of Art

Illinois Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Madeline

Birth City, State, Country

Wilmington

HM ID

RAB02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Delaware

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

It Will Reveal Itself.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/27/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Baby Vegetables

Short Description

Art consultant and curator Madeline Murphy Rabb (1945 - ) owns Murphy Rabb, Inc., an art consulting company. Rabb has also traveled the country lecturing, serving on panels and participating in workshops on a wide variety of issues.

Employment

City of Chicago

Delete

Murphy Rabb, Inc.

Favorite Color

Turquoise

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178245">Tape: 1 Slating of Madeline Murphy Rabb's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178246">Tape: 1 Madeline Murphy Rabb lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178247">Tape: 1 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks briefly about her parents' background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178248">Tape: 1 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her maternal family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178249">Tape: 1 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her paternal family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178250">Tape: 1 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her mother, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178251">Tape: 1 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her mother, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178252">Tape: 1 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes Cherry Hill, her childhood neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178253">Tape: 1 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178254">Tape: 1 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her family's isolation from the black bourgeoisie in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178255">Tape: 1 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about being involved in voter registration drives and taking over her brother's paper route</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178256">Tape: 2 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her childhood personality and interests</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178257">Tape: 2 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her social experience as a student at Eastern High School in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178258">Tape: 2 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her family's frugalness</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178259">Tape: 2 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her academic experience as a student at Eastern High School in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178260">Tape: 2 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her childhood home life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178261">Tape: 2 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her college application process and attending the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178262">Tape: 2 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about transferring to the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178263">Tape: 2 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about canceling her wedding</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178264">Tape: 2 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes meeting her husband, HistoryMaker Dr. Maurice F. Rabb</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178265">Tape: 2 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes working at Tuesday magazine in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178266">Tape: 3 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about Chicago's African American cultural arts movement in the 1960s and 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178267">Tape: 3 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes selling original artwork at the National Medical Association Annual Convention</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178268">Tape: 3 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes experiencing a professional revelation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178269">Tape: 3 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about hosting a fundraiser for Harold Washington's first mayoral campaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178270">Tape: 3 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her appointment to Executive Director of Fine Arts for the City of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178271">Tape: 3 Madeline Murphy Rabb explains how she gained control of the Public Art Program as Executive Director of Fine Arts for the City of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178272">Tape: 3 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes being sued by a community over a controversial artist commission</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178273">Tape: 3 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about the customary exclusion of artists of color from grant funding, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178274">Tape: 3 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about the customary exclusion of artists of color from grant funding, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178275">Tape: 4 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about the elevation of the Department of Cultural Affairs to a cabinet level position</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178276">Tape: 4 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about programming at the Chicago Cultural Center during her tenure as the Executive Director of Fine Arts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178277">Tape: 4 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about Mayor Harold Washington's involvement in the City of Chicago's cultural affairs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178278">Tape: 4 Madeline Murphy Rabb remembers a collaborative exhibition between the Department of Cultural Affairs and Art Institute of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178279">Tape: 4 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about controversy surrounding a Chicago artists' exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178280">Tape: 4 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about controversy surrounding a Chicago artists' exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178281">Tape: 4 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about controversy surrounding a Chicago artists' exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, pt. 3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178282">Tape: 4 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes the precursor to her private art dealing enterprise</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178283">Tape: 5 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about controversy surrounding a Chicago artists' exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, pt. 4</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178284">Tape: 5 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes curating an art collection for the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178285">Tape: 5 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about black-owned art galleries in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178286">Tape: 5 Madeline Murphy Rabb explains how an artist gets her attention</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178287">Tape: 5 Madeline Murphy Rabb shares her perspective surrounding whether a black aesthetic in art exists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178288">Tape: 5 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes her hopes for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178289">Tape: 5 Madeline Murphy Rabb reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178290">Tape: 5 Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about 'Mirth & Girth,' a controversial posthumous painting of Mayor Harold Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178291">Tape: 5 Madeline Murphy Rabb describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/178292">Tape: 5 Madeline Murphy Rabb narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about Chicago's African American cultural arts movement in the 1960s and 1970s
Madeline Murphy Rabb talks about hosting a fundraiser for Harold Washington's first mayoral campaign
Transcript
Now you said the political arts movement or what we call the black cultural arts movement is going on--$$Yeah.$$--basically. And when you were painting and--$$Yeah, and while I was political and aware of what was going on, that was not what my life was. I was a middle class woman, married to a physician, not struggling, and my subject matter had to do with things that were familiar to me. I did drawings and a lot of it was sort of social commentary on my middle class environment. I did these drawings about parties that I would go to and I was like an observer sort of observing people and I drew figures and I drew flowers, I did still lifes. And it wasn't the kind of thing that was radical or--but it was authentic and I didn't fit. I really didn't fit and so I was not taken seriously or given the respect.$$Now, are you saying in Chicago [Illinois] in those days if I can understand what's going on here, I know that now a lot of the art that was--the public art especially, the murals and stuff that AfriCOBRA [African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists] was engaged in, Mitchell Canton and [HM] Jeff Donaldson and Calvin Hill and lot of them you know, have been seen in retrospect as being great but during those days here they really making money as artists or gaining notoriety as artists?$$Well, the movement in retrospect yes, became very powerful but the Wall of Respect and all of the mural--that mural movement got a lot of recognition and a lot of respect in those days. But as far as my life was concerned, I think more than not being a part of it, I think my needing or wanting to be part of something I think--when you come out of art school, you have a community of artists around whom you work and so there's this sort of give and take. And when I left art school, I didn't have anyone to really talk to. I didn't fit with the feminists, the white feminist women because my issues were not the same issues as the white feminists, you know and so I didn't fit there. I didn't fit with Afrocentric artists and I had, I struggled but that's not to say I didn't continue to make art. And I got a studio in 1978 on South Michigan Avenue, and I had a studio for twenty years and made art and--but I did find how to get my art out there. So I exhibited--I did--I exhibited at the South Side Community Art Center. That was a very, very welcoming place, very supportive. I served on their board. I worked with the DuSable Museum [of African American History, Chicago, Illinois] and helped raise money for them so I was involved in arts circles but there was always this sort of--and maybe it was I who felt it, but I always sort of felt not taken seriously. Not you know, like oohhh, you know little artiste or little dilettante or you know, and I resented that and it always gnawed at me. And so I continued but there were always these moments during the course of my art making career where I wanted something else. I wanted to earn a pay check. I wanted to go somewhere you know and do something.$And so it was also during that period where Harold Washington was being touted as a possible candidate [for mayor of Chicago, Illinois]. There was a groundswell among the people. He became a people candidate you know, and there's all this energy for voter registration and all of that. And there was something about him that just struck a chord with me and I said I like this man and I became involved in his campaign early on. Artists for Washington, I lent art for the offices, I you know, I campaigned for him. I worked very hard for him and ultimately before the February primary, was so excited about him that I wanted to host a fundraiser. And by that time we lived in Kenwood [Chicago, Illinois]. We had an enormous house at the corner of 48th and Woodlawn. And Beverly Robinson who was married to Max Robinson at the time, and I, decided we were going to do couples. Max Robinson and [HM Dr.] Maurice Rabb and--well Max couldn't get involved in politics and so Maurice said well why don't you and Beverly do it, you know?$$Cause Max was a--$$An ABC Anchor.$$--news anchor for ABC, right.$$Um-hmm. So we did it at my house cause I had--$$He's an artist too.$$Yes.$$(Unclear).$$Yeah. So we did it at my house and you would have been astounded to know at--how--when I started talking to talking to people that I knew, by that time I was involved in the black middle class you know. I was very much a part of it and knew lots of people and called them to tell them what I was doing and said would you like to be part of the committee? And people said, "You know Mad, I think it's a great idea but I don't think I want to put my name on it." I'm saying, Huh? "Well you know if he loses, Jane Byrne is vindictive and you know that--I don't know. We'll help you but we're not going to put our name on the list." So hey, I said, more power to you. We did it. And so we had this fundraiser in my house and we had wall-to-wall people. The black bourgeoisie came out in full force. I--we raised a lot of money for him. And I liked--and I do believe that that was a significant event in that it galvanized--and people for the first time heard him talk. We had [HM] John Conyers [Jr.] there. My son did this wonderful poem about Jane Byrne. It was a wonderful evening and people heard him, touched him, talked to him, listened to him and began to support him. And it was interesting, there was a--and then there were people who were trying to tag on--some of the liberal Jewish community in Hyde Park [Chicago, Illinois], wanted to join in on my fundraiser and I said, no. This is about what it is. And so, I did it because it was the right thing to do and it was something that I felt passionate about and of course looking back at my history of political involvement I hadn't been involved politically in Chicago up until that point because I had left Baltimore [Maryland], I had politics up to here. But suddenly you know this call, this gene kicked in and so, I did it. That was it.