Over the next few weeks I am going to blog about educators, athletes, pastors, dancers, mothers, politicians, artists, actresses, social activists, writers, singers and poets who dare to look at life with humor, determination, strength and respect. The women who will guest my blog posts are women who left, and will leave, the world a better place than it was when they entered it.

I started yesterday with my sister and will continue with women, African-American women, from all walks of life and times who inspire me to claim my beauty gifted by God as I live Light. They will be women who refused and are still refusing to life to hinder them from living or dim their shine. The book, I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America, will mostly be my guide and main reference of sharing their stories.

Phenomenal women.

These women have descended from grandmothers and great-grandmothers who knew the lash firsthand, and to whom protection was a phantom known of but seldom experienced. Their faces are captured here for the ages to regard and wonder, but they are whole women. Their hands have brought children through blood to life, nursed the sick, and folded the winding cloths. Their wombs have held the promise of a race which has proven in each challenging century that despite threat and mayhem it has come to stay. Their feet have trod the shifting swampland of insecurity, yet they have tried to step neatly onto the footprints of mothers who went before. They are not apparitions; they are not superwomen. Despite their majestic struggle they are not larger than life. Their humanness is evident in their accessibility.

Precious jewels all. Thanks to their persistence, art, sublime laughter and love we may all yet survive our grotesque history.

Maya Angelou, Foreword of I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America

Maya Angelou