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Soul of the Butterfly: Chicory Magazine and Baltimore's Black Arts Activism
Chicory covers from April 1974 and October 1981

Can art be activism? Can a poem make a difference? In the 1960s, Black writers in Baltimore said yes in the pages of Chicory, a poetry magazine published by the Pratt Library from 1966-1983. Its five editors turned the magazine into a hotbed of radical Black culture, publishing writing by everyone from children to elders, from social workers to people in prison about everything from bad housing and schools to celebrations of Black joy.

Soul of the Butterfly is a traveling exhibit that uses Chicory to tell the story of how Black artist-activists in Baltimore have been making change since the 1960s. Featuring poetry, artwork, and photos, it reminds us why the Baltimore Afro-American called Chicory “the most authentic microphone of Black folks talking ever devised.” It connects past and present by featuring work by young writers, artists, and creators in Baltimore in conversation with this history.

Want to learn more about the magazine? Browse or search every issue of Chicory magazine on Digital Maryland, or watch a short video about the history and significance of Chicory.

See the Exhibit

Soul of the Butterfly Chicory exhibit - a woman reading the panel textcloseup
Soul of the Butterfly Chicory exhibit panels with a woman browsing between panels, wide view

Our Partners

Soul of the Butterfly was co-curated by a team of students at Rutgers University-Newark, Bard High School Early College Baltimore, Dewmore Baltimore, and Writers in Baltimore Schools led by Dr. Mary Rizzo and Erin Santana. Learn more about their work and the organizations that make it possible below.

  • DewMore Baltimore uses art as a tool to increase civic engagement in marginalized communities throughout Greater Baltimore through innovative art-focused programming and community organizing via purposeful partnerships with community organizations, schools, and governmental agencies. DewMore aims to leave individuals and communities in a more actualized, engaged, and connected condition.

  • Writers in Baltimore Schools empowers the voices of Baltimore City students through in-school, after-school, and summer programming that builds skills in literacy and communication while creating a community of support for young writers.

  • Bard High School Early College Baltimore (Bard Baltimore) is a four-year public school that allows students to take a two-year, tuition-free college course of study in the liberal arts and sciences following the 9th and 10th grades. Bard Baltimore students graduate with a high school diploma and up to 60 Bard college credits and an associate’s degree. Students at Bard worked with Dr. Patrick Oray to create a new literary magazine inspired by Chicory.

Download Bard Literary Magazine PDF

Chicory exhibit partner logos: DewMore Baltimore, Writers in Baltimore Schools, and Bard High School Early College Baltimore

Inspired? Get Involved!

Chicory Revitalization Project logo

Baltimore City youth & young adults (ages 11-21) can submit poetry and artwork to the New Chicory Review, the upcoming re-published Chicory Magazine!

Follow the Chicory Revitalization Project on Instagram and Facebook, and find resources for educators and learn more about how the Chicory Revitalization Project is bringing Chicory to life.

New Chicory Review
More Information
New Chicory Review - teens in a writing workshop

New Chicory Review

New Chicory Review is a magazine of original poetry and art by Baltimore City teens and young adults.

Read Chicory Magazine
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Chicory Magazine on Digital Maryland

Read Chicory Magazine

Learn more about the history of Chicory Magazine and read issues dating back to 1966 on Digital Maryland.