Past Event

More Than a Color: The Marginalization of African Beauty Through History

A Road Scholar Program by Karen Anderson

This presentation takes participants on a walk-through history telling the stories of some women who many may not know. Anderson will speak about the women of color in 1760 French America who figured out how to legally free themselves from slavery only to be bound by government laws, women like Sarah Baartman who had to choose between being a circus oddity or a slave, and how women like Sarah Breedlove and Ann Malone changed the way women of African descent saw themselves—how these women redefined beauty. Anderson will also reflect on a recent development: our society has started to see women of color as beautiful.

depictions of Sarah Baartman, Ann Malone, and Sarah Breedlove
Sarah Baartman (no real life images available), Ann Malone, and Sarah Breedlove (aka Madam CJ Walker)

Anderson will illuminate history filled with women of color who refused to view themselves through social limitation. She hopes to inspire others to decide for themselves what beauty is.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Fran Knechel at

Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest COVID-19 Policy

We follow all local Covid-19 guidelines, and will adhere to what is recommended in the Village of Oak Park at the time and date of our event.

Learn more about Karen Anderson, this program, and how to book it.