I Dream a World
Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America

  • Currently out of print

About the book

When Brian Lanker mentioned to a friend his idea for a book-length photographic essay on influential American black women, he was asked whether there were enough black women of stature around for such a project. What he found, he said, was that there were more such women than he had space for.

Lanker, a 1973 Pulitzer prize winner, published “I Dream A World: Portraits of 75 Black Women Who Changed America” in 1989. It presents a female view of the world as it should be, in their words, accompanied by some of the most beautiful portraits ever taken.

“These women,” says writer Maya Angelou in an introduction to the book, “have descended from grandmothers and great grandmothers who knew the lash firsthand, and to whom protection was a phantom known of, but seldom experienced…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 to 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 into the footprints of mothers who went before. They are not apparitions; they are not superwomen. They are not larger than life.”