Legends: Rare Moments and Inspiring Words
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Paperback: 192 pages
What would America be without back folks? That is the underlying theme of America I AM, a traveling museum celebrating the contributions of blacks to the U.S. which will be touring the country for four years. Legends: Rare Moments and Inspiring Words is one of two companion books published by Tavis Smiley to augment the exhibition.
As much an educational tool as an oversized, coffee table keepsake, Legends features an array of visually-captivating photographs of 78 African-American icons of the 20th Century, with each one's image being accompanied by a memorable phrase which embodies his or her spirit. These remarkable luminaries come from all walks of life, including the fields of politics, music, dance, literature and sports.
Among the honorees is the poet Maya Angelou, whose entry captures her at work writing alongside the quote ’There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’ Then there is the evocative shot of Thelonious Monk which has the late jazz great composing at the piano next to the saying, ’Wrong is right.’
Equally-penetrating are the pictures and reflections about the rest, from Rosa Parks to Jackie Robinson to Dr. Martin Luther King to Muhammad Ali to James Baldwin to Thurgood Marshall to Quincy Jones to Barack Obama. Besides the portraits, Legends fleshes out of these groundbreakers further via brief biographies.
A valuable reminder about some brilliant black folks gifted and daring enough to make seminal cultural and social contributions to the nation in spite of their potentially-crippling, color-coded, second-class status.