Top of Page

Celebrating Black History Month


Black History is Chicago History

 For Black History Month and all year long, Chicago Public Schools is honoring its history makers, leaders, and influential personalities from its past and present to learn more about how their achievements and contributions have shaped Chicago's Black History and the world we live in today.

Honoring Black Leaders and History Makers

From the great founder of our city, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, to the first Black alderman, Oscar DePriest, Chicago's history has been shaped by trailblazing Black leaders. Their legacies live in places from DuSable Lake Shore Drive to the DuSable Black History Museum to our District’s own DuSable High School, where young minds are inspired by those who came before.


Jean Baptiste Point du Sable

Assistant Principal Burton at Murphy Elementary School emphasizes the significant role of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable in the foundation of Chicago.


Oscar DePriest

Norman Fleming, CPS Chief Information Officer, reflects on the life of DePriest, Chicago's first Black alderman, who served in the 2nd ward during the early 1900s, leaving a lasting impact on the community.

Many additional schools also bear the names of black artists, historians, and leaders. Al Raby High School honors the life and legacy of a CPS teacher, activist, and civil rights leader who fought against racism in education, housing, and employment practices. Gwendolyn Brooks High School honors the first Black woman to be named U.S. Poet Laureate. Goode STEM Academy pays homage to the work of inventor Sarah E. Goode, who was the first Black woman to receive a U.S. patent.


Al Raby

Sydney Morris, Chief of Staff for the Chief Education Officer of CPS, reflects on the legacy of Al Raby, a leader in civil rights, activist, and CPS teacher.


Gwendolyn Brooks

Dr. Fatima Cooke, CPS Chief of Equity, Engagement, and Strategy, shares historical details about Gwendolyn Brooks High School's honoring of the first Black woman to be named U.S. Poet Laureate.

These and other Black leaders paved the way for future CPS students, like Margaret Burroughs, a graduate of Englewood High School who founded the DuSable Museum of African American History. And Mae Jamison, whose passion for science took her from Morgan Park High School to space as the first Black female astronaut.


Dr. Margaret Taylor Burroughs

Wendell Smith Elementary School Principal Crockett reflects on the lasting legacy of renowned activist, teacher, and founder of the DuSable Museum of Art.


Mae Jemison

Find out more about a Morgan Park High School graduate whose passion for science took her to NASA, where she became the first Black woman in space.

Their journeys inspire our students today. Black history is Chicago's history. It lives within our schools, within our curriculum, and within every young mind ready to reach for the stars and their legacy continues.


Ralph Metcalfe

CPS Chief Operating Officer Charles Mayfield highlights Ralph Metcalfe, a CPS Tilden Tech graduate who held the world record in the 100-meter dash and placed second in two Olympic games.


Michelle Obama

The former First Lady attended Bryn Mawr Elementary (now Bouchette) and Whitney Young High School, which she credits for preparing her for the rigors of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.


Harold Washington

A CPS DuSable High School graduate, Washington broke barriers as Chicago's first Black Mayor. His legacy lives on, inspiring future leaders with his vision and dedication to public service.


Pullman Porters

Following the Civil War, rapid railway expansion attracted freed Black Slaves to work in Chicago as porters on the Pullman Cars, the largest Black Male workforce in the US.