“I Dream a World”

January 22, 2009

i-dream-a-world1Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America

Photographs and interviews by Brian Lanker, Edited by Barbara Summers,  Foreword by Maya Angelou.

A precious gift I received years ago from an American friend in Central Africa. Seventy-five wonderful women are presented through photographs and interviews. Each person recalling a special event in her life. Each of them in her own language, accent and with a great openness.

Barbara Summers writes :”… A truly beautifying discovery for me was to find so much love in anger. It was a fist-up, death-defying love that challended the unfair conditions of life and muscled in on injustice as it nursed both sides of a nation. Valiant and vulnerable, these women were there”.

A Poem by Mari Evans from “I Am a Black Woman”


am a black woman

tall as a cypress


beyond all definition still

defying place

and time

and circumstance





on me and be


In this time of celebration in the United States, I took this book out of one of my bookshelves and slowly turned its pages with admiration, respect, gratefulness. And  deep emotion.  Looking at the Inauguration Day’s celebration on the Swiss TV, I saw some beautiful women’s faces and expressions in the public listening to their new President.  I saw their shining eyes and huge smiles, I saw and heard their cries of joy and encouragement. I saw different silent forms of happiness, tears, attentiveness to every word and movement. Prayers. Thankfulness.

Unforgettable moments shared miles away.

I would like to share Brian Lanker’s words at the end of his preface of this superb book :

“In fact, all of the women in this book have dreamed of a world not only better for themselves but for generations to come, a world where character and ability matter, not color or gender. As they dreamed that world, they acted on those dreams and they changed America.

This celebration of sisters is not an attempt to elevate or lower any segment of society, it is merely an opportunity to savor the triumphs of the human spirit, a spirit that does not speak only of black history. My greatest lesson was that this is my history, this is American history”.

Thank you Rosa Parks, Eva Jessye, Maxine Waters, Clara McBride Hale, Maya Angelou, Ruby Dee, Marva Collins, Septima Clark, Mattie Morris Losey… and so many others.

2 Responses to ““I Dream a World””

  1. Bernice H. Everett & Family said

    Hello Mr. Brian Lanker,
    The picture on the front cover of “I Dream A World” is the picture of our grandmother, Mattie Morris Losey. This is not the picture of Septima Clark, and we have a lot of respect for Mrs. Clark’ contributions to our society. She deserves her own picture to be framed of this very informative and wonderful book. On the other hand,it is totally unfair to expose our loving grandmother’ picture to the entire world without giving her recognition.

    The entire world can compare Mrs. Clark’ pictures and very well observe the differences in the picture on the cover.

    Please take time to research your pictures because the family hurts from the sight of these books because our dearly loved grandmother has been taken advantage of even after her death. We will continue to pursue this picture mis-identity until the picture cover is corrected.

    I must tell you that our grandmother explained to me that a man asked to take her picture. He asked to braid her hair and remove her “ruby” ring from her finger. She replied, “I have never had my hair braided before, but I will let someone braid it, but I will not remove the ring from my finger because I promised the person who gave it to me to keep it on”. The man explained to her that the ring can stay on the finger if he could turn the “ruby” around. Our grandmother agreed to the plan and explained to me that a black cloth was also wrapped around her shoulders, and the picture would be on a very famous book.

    Our dear loving grandmother is deceased now, but her memories will be within our hearts forever. She was a very devoted loving person who cooked and shared her meals with the people of need in the community. Her name is Mrs. Mattie Morris Losey a well-respected loving lady in the community. She often said, “if someone is hungry she would feed them”. It was during the time of depression and there were not food for most of them to eat, but her husband John D. Losey was a very devoted, good provider and helped the people of need by letting them have fresh vegetables, meats, coal,and money without any returns most of the time. He charter the NAACP with wife affliations, and one of the first blacks to be a member of the police force in Macon, Georgia. His picture is hanging in the downtown City Hall. The wife was a homemaker of eight beautiful children and providing care for any persons who needed help.

    Our family can not understand how our grandmother’ picture was chosen to be on the cover of your book without showing recognition in due respect to her honorable name. This picture is our “Big Ma” and we want Mrs. Clark’ picture to be featured as a well-deserved black woman.

    I must tell you, Mr. Lanker that I received this great book as a Christmas gift from a co-worker, Dr. Julie Burke, who had pulled my name. I opened the neatly wrapped gift, and I was shocked and breathles when I saw the cover. She asked me did I like the book because my face was red. Of course, I reply, “yes” I adore this book. One of my sisters is a retired principal who kept this book on display on the top of bookcase in her office until she retired so she could keep her eyes on “Big Ma”.

    We are very sorry to expose our personal feelings about this book, but the pains will not go away. This book rides with me in my car because of the love I have for the beloved, wonderful and darling lady. So, Mr. Brian Lanker please research your records, files, staff or whatever means necessary to resolve this picture mis-identity.

    “Big Ma” is our Precious Jewel. Community knows her as Mrs. Mattie and husband Mr. John Losey.

    Thank You,

    Bernice H. Everett & Family

  2. Dear Mrs. Everett and Family,

    Thank you so much for your comment on my blog. I was really touched by your words and tribute to your beloved and wonderful “Big Ma”. I totally understand you felt like writing about the mis-identity of the cover picture and the pain it brings to you and yours. I had no way of knowing it and am grateful you informed me and the readers of this blog. I found this site : http://www.brianlanker.com/. You will find a contact address on it and maybe feel like writing directly to Mr. B. Lanker about it ?
    In the meantime I will correct some of my own information and tags hoping it will be of help to you.

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