To celebrate African American History Month this year, OutHistory is featuring a set of biographical profiles. “People make history,” it is often said, and biography is one of the most accessible ways of approaching history. The individuals we are featuring range across the 20th century, and they distinguished themselves in a variety of ways: through poetry, theater, painting, dance, electoral politics, folklore, and feminist theory.

These profiles were all done by two students at the University of Illinois at Chicago – Kali Henderson and Dionn McDonald – as part of an independent study project. We encourage teachers, as part of a course or for a student research project, to have their students produce material for the website.