Lena McLin

Lena McLin (born 1928), a music teacher and composer, is rightly called ”the woman who launched a thousand careers.” Born in Atlanta, at the age of five she was sent to Chicago to live with her uncle Thomas A. Dorsey, the famous gospel composer. Influenced by her uncle and her musical surroundings, McLin’s musical gifts flourished. She became the accompanist for her uncle’s famous choir at Pilgrim Baptist Church before going to Spelman College to study piano and violin.

She returned to Chicago for graduate study and began a 36-year career as a teacher in Chicago Public Schools teaching at Hubbard High School, Harlan High School and Kenwood Academy. Among her students were Broadway actor Mandy Patinkin, Metropolitan Opera star Mark Rucker, jazz singers Maggie Brown and Kim English along with R&B stars Chaka Khan and Jennifer Hudson. McLin composed over 400 choral pieces and became an ordained Baptist minister in 1982.

Why this stop? The Orange Line's Pulaski stop is a mile and a half north of Hubbard High School, one of the schools where McLin taught.

Listen to one of McLin’s arrangements sung by one of her former students.