Nonprofit seeks to inspire next generation with stories of local, Black pioneers

Hebru Brantley
Local nonprofit Burst into Books will be hosting interactive workshops this month centered around some of Chicago's own Black pioneers, including artist Hebru Brantley, shown above. Photo credit Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Amar'e Stoudemire

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Gwendolyn Brooks, Amanda Williams, Hebru Brantley and Lorraine Hansberry are just a few of the pioneers in Black history whose stories began in chicago, and Jurema Gorham, founder of Burst into Books, wants to make sure children across the city know those stories.

“So many times when we are teaching about Black history, we are talking about these prominent figures: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and all of those are definitely names we should know, but we should also be aware of the history that was made here in Chicago," Gorham said.

With help from Blue Cross Blue Shield and Brown Books & Paintbrushes, Gorham is hosting interactive workshops and said she hopes to inspire kids to dream and achieve like the pioneers before them.

“There's something about knowing that they came from the same neighborhood or the same city that you came from because you understand that something is possible,” she said.

“Families will be able to … rotate [and] learn about poetry from Chicago, centered around Gwendolyn Brooks,” Gorham said. “We have an art station that's going to be centered around Amanda Williams and Hebru Brantley, who are both from Chicago.”

She said participants will be able to reenact scenes from Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” too.

The whole experience, though, could also leave kids with an important lesson.

“To meet someone who has made a mark in history and knowing they're from your same city, gives you the idea that I can make a mark as well,” Gorham said.

The first event will take place Saturday at the Blue Door Neighborhood Center in Pullman.

More information about Burst into Books can be found here.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Amar'e Stoudemire