In a reflective tribute to the African-American community of old, noted poet Ntozake Shange recalls her childhood home and the close-knit group of innovators that often gathered there. These men of vision, brought to life in the majestic paintings of artist Kadir Nelson, lived at a time when the color of their skin dictated where they could live, what schools they could attend, and even where they could sit on a bus or in a movie theater. Yet in the face of this tremendous adversity, these dedicated souls and others like them not only demonstrated the importance of Black culture in America, but also helped issue in a movement that "changed the world." Their lives and their works inspire us to this day, and serve as a guide to how we approach the challenges of tomorrow.
Ntozake Shange (1948–2018) was a poet, novelist, playwright, and performer. She wrote the Broadway-produced and Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, as well as numerous works of fiction, including Sassafras, Cypress & Indigo; Betsey Brown; and Liliane.
Kadir Nelson is an award-winning American artist whose works have been exhibited in major national and international publications, institutions, art galleries, and museums. Nelson is the illustrator of many beloved, award-winning, and bestselling picture books including, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, winner of the Coretta Scott King and Robert F. Sibert Award; Thunder Rose, written by Jerdine Nolen, which received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award; Ellington Was Not a Street, written by Ntozake Shange, which received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award; Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life, written by Jerdine Nolen, which won the 2005 Society of Illustrators Gold Medal; and Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya by Donna Jo Napoli called “stunning” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review. He is also the illustrator of Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan’s Salt in His Shoes and Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee’s Please, Baby, Please and Please, Puppy, Please. Kadir Nelson lives in Los Angeles.