She Did It

Person to Know

Katherine Dunham

Original Publication
February 5, 2019
Last Updated
Jan 16, 2023 3:42 AM
DanceWomanAnthropologyQuotes to Live By
I used to want the words "She tried" on my tombstone. Now I want "She did it." 👩🏾‍🦱 Katherine Dunham

Katherine Dunham, PhD (1909-2006) was a choreographer, dancer, and anthropologist. She used her anthropology research to bring ethnic dance styles to the stage, taking much of her inspiration from the Caribbean and Brazil. Dr. Dunham didn't stop with bringing blackness into art, she was active in our every day plight. In 1992 she orchestrated a 47-day hunger strike to raise awareness about Haitian refugees. She is a published author (she also used the pseudonym Kaye Dunn) and the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Medal of Arts.

The “Quotes to Live By” series was originally posted to my Instagram in 2019. Due to the original medium, these posts are fairly short and not meant to be exhausted biographies.


  1. "Katherine Dunham". Encyclopædia Britannica. June 18, 2018
  2. "Katherine Dunham Biography". Katherine Dunham Center for Arts and Humanities; visited February 2019

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