Event—Public Programming

Lifting As They Climbed: Mapping a History of Black Women on Chicago's South Side


Lifting As They Climbed: Mapping a History of Black Women on Chicago's South Side tells of the lives of Black women who contributed to the development of Chicago from the mid-nineteenth century to today.

This self-guided tour, by Essence McDowell and Mariame Kaba, features thirty-three locations and ten additional sites of interest that represent the lives and work of Black women activists and artists from Chicago’s South Side who organized to make the city work better for themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. These women documented the conditions of Black people and shaped the culture of Chicago and the entire country.

Download a PDF flyer for this event, to post and distribute, and explore a Quick Guide about resources relating to Lifting as they Climbed in the Newberry collection.

After her talk, McDowell will sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase.

Essence McDowell is a digital aesthetic specialist and communications strategist who works at the Social Justice Initiative as the Digital Media Strategist and Program Manager. Essence is on the board of Chicago Freedom School, and serves as a communications consultant for various organizations.

Mariame Kaba, the co-author, who is unable to attend, is an organizer, educator and curator. Her work focuses on ending violence, dismantling the prison industrial complex, transformative justice and supporting youth leadership development. After over twenty years of living and organizing in Chicago, she recently moved back to her hometown of New York City.

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Excuse our dust!!!

Beginning January 2018 the Newberry is undertaking renovation of much of the ground floor. Ruggles Hall will not be affected, but please check this link frequently for the latest conditions - which exterior doors are open or closed, where to find an accessible entrance, which restrooms are available, etc.