“Cowboys and Conga Drums”

Art T. Burton has a distinguished career in education and the arts. He received bachelor and masters degrees in cultural and ethnic studies at Governors State University (GSU), where he served as student assistant dean. Additionally, he was selected as a recipient of “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities,” and traveled to Brazil with GSU’s award-winning Jazz Band as their percussionist.

Photo of Art on a horseBurton was Recruitment and Admissions Counselor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and Coordinator of Minority Affairs and Admissions Counselor at Illinois Benedictine College. He taught Art T. Burton ethnic and cultural studies at Prairie State College, South Suburban College, and Governors State University. Burton spent ten years at Loyola University as Assistant Dean of Students and Director of African American Student Affairs. Burton was the Director of Student Development/Minority Affairs at Columbia College in Chicago for seven years. He is currently a professor of History at South Suburban College in South Holland, IL. He is a recipient of the “Living Black History “ Award. In 1983 and 1990 he was selected as an “Outstanding Young Man of America” in recognition of professional achievement, superior leadership ability, and service to the community. As author of Black, Red and Deadly, “Turk” Burtonhe has been interviewed by radio and television hosts and was featured in the November 1994 issue of Emerge magazine. His book is being considered for a feature film on African- Americans in the West. Initiated by Burton, the major character in the book, Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall, was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

Photo of Art "Turk' Burton standing behind conga drumsA member of the Chicago based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (A.A.C.M.) since 1973, Burton has shared musical experiences with Dizzy Gillespie, Muhal Richard Abrams, Chico Freeman, Amina Claudine Myers, Lester Bowie, Henry Threadgill, and Elvin Jones. In 1996, Art played percussion on saxophonist Vandy Harris’ recording PURE FIRE. In 1998, he played percussion on a critically received recording by noted Chicago saxophonist Ari Brown titled VENUS for the Delmark label. Art was elected Chairman of the Association for the A.A.C.M. for the year of 2011. He has played the bongo and conga drums professionally for over 30 years.

Learn more about Art’s Music Career



  • Who’s Who in Black Chicago: for outstanding contributions in History/Academia; 2007
  • Outstanding Research and Lectures: Oklahoma Historical Society; 2002
  • Black Image Award: Mahogany Foundation; 1998
  • Oklahoma Territoral Marshall: 1993
  • Certificate of Appreciation: Black Texas Historical Society; 1991
  • Outstanding Young Man of American: for professional achievement, superior leadership ability, and service to service to the community; 1983 and 1990
  • Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities: 1976-77
  • Who’s Who in America, 2010


  • President of the Thornton Township Historical Society; 2011
  • Village Trustee of Phoenix, Illinois; 1986-96, 2000 – 2010
  • Board Member of Illinois High School District 205 School Board; 2005 – present
  • Board Member of Oklahombres (Association for the Study of Lawmen and Outlaw in Oklahoma and Indian Territories)
  • Chairman of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (A.A.C.M.) in Chicago, Illinois
  • National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum and Hall of Fame; 2008


  • Smithsonian Institution – Washington, D.C.
  • U.S. Department of Justice – Washington, D.C.
  • Fort Smith National Historic Site – Fort Smith, AR
  • Loyola University – New Orleans, LA
  • Oklahoma State University – Stillwater, OK
  • California State Afro-American History Museum – Los Angeles, CA
  • Autrey Museum of Western History – Los Angeles, CA
  • Prairie View A & M University – Houston, TX
  • Association of African American History & Culture – Kansas City, MO
  • U.S. Department of Energy – Argonne, IL
  • Black Archives of Mid America – Kansas City, MO
  • National Cowboy Hall of Fame – Oklahoma City, OK
  • Old Courthouse (National Park Service) – St. Louis, MO
  • John Carroll University – Cleveland, OH
  • Wooster College – Wooster, OH
  • University of Oklahoma – Norman, OK
  • Northwestern University – Evanston, IL
  • Eiteljorg Museum of Native American Art – Indianapolis, IN
  • United Way – Chicago, IL
  • Oklahoma History Center
  • Connors State College – Warner, OK
  • Fort Smith History Museum – Fort Smith, AR
  • National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum – Fort Worth, TX
  • U.S. Marshals Service – Witness Protection Program – Charleston, SC


  • Arts & Entertainment (A&E) Cable Network – “THE REAL WEST,” hosted by Kenny Rogers
  • Black Entertainment Television (BET) – “TEEN SUMMIT SHOW” – 1993; with Mario Van Peeples, discussing the movie “Posse” and the historical relevance of African Americans on the Western Frontier
  • The History Channel Cable Network – 1994; “OUTLAWS: THE TEN MOST WANTED”
  • The History Channel Cable Network – 1994; “THE LAW BEHIND THE STAR”
  • The History Channel Cable Network – 2000; “MOVIES IN TIME: ‘POSSE’ “
  • The History Channel Cable Network – 2004; “WILD WEST TECH: THE BOUNTY HUNTERS”
  • NBC 4 Detroit (WDIV-TV) – “THE BLACK WEST”
  • Chicago Cable TV – “BOOK TALK”
  • CBS 2 Chicago (WBBM-TV) – “COMMON GROUND”
  • British Broadcasting Company (BBC)
  • Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC)
  • WWRL 1600 AM New York, NY – “NIGHT TALK (with Bob Law)”
  • VOA “Voice Of America” (U.S. Information Service)