Dancer and choreographer
Educator and writer
The Afonso Arinos Law in Brazil
Awards and honors
- In 1971 she received the Heritage Award from the National Dance Association.
- In 1979 at Carnegie Hall, she received the Albert Schweitzer Music Award "for a life's work dedicated to music and devoted to humanity."
- In 1987 she was received the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award, and was also inducted into the National Museum of Dance's Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York.
- In 1983 she was a recipient of one of the highest artistic awards in the United States, the Kennedy Center Honors.
- In 1986 the American Anthropological Association gave her a Distinguished Service Award.
- In 1989 she was awarded a National Medal of Arts, an honor shared by only two other University of Chicago alumni, Saul Bellow and Philip Roth.
- Dunham has her own star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
- In 2000 she was named one of the first one hundred of "America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures" by the Dance Heritage Coalition.
- In 2002 Molefi Kete Asante included her in his book entitled 100 Greatest African Americans.
- In 2005, she was awarded "Outstanding Leadership in Dance Research" by the Congress on Research in Dance.