Lanker is perhaps best known for his book and exhibition of portraits entitled, "I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America." The debut exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. set attendance records for the 111 year old museum in the nation's capital. Currently, his book "I Dream A World" is in its 14th printing.
These last two weeks, I’ve been reading a favorite book of women photo essays, Brian Lanker’s, I Dream A World. My copy is well worn. I have used it for quizzes at Color Online, for profiles for Black History Month and Women’s History Month. I bought my first copy when it published. I love the essays; the photographs and the list of women profiled include names that many readers likely cannot name. I think we should be celebrating these women during Black History Month and beyond. Herein are some of the women who have inspired and influenced the way I think and live:
*Septima Poinsette Clark
Norma Merrick Sklarek
Gloria Dean Randle Scott
Harriet Elizabeth Byrd
Sherian Grace Cadoria
Jewel Jackson McCabe
Anna Arnold Hedgeman
Does this list contain names you don’t know? Don’t you want to know who they are?
It’s been more than twenty years still every time I revisit this text I am inspired. I wish Mr. Lanker or anyone else would produce a current work like this. Given the lack of positive images of black women in the media this is the kind of work I want to pass out by the truck loads to young girls and young women everywhere. They need to be educated about the legacy of accomplished, beautiful and proud black women. All women should read this book.
Each woman in this volume shares a powerful message. You don’t experience the kind of strength and quiet elegance these women possess enough. Mr. Lanker’s photographers are fitting tributes to extraordinary women.
I encourage you to look for this book. If you’re not happy with it, you can send your copy to me.
* Cover photo