Close to seventy women across the United States contributed to I AM Woman with either their image or their words. When the project began, the portrait sessions were open to women of all ethnic backgrounds. However, this first photobook has always been intended to focus on Black Women in America. The portraits of the women in the book will have their first names and the word(s) they use to describe themselves. This page acknowledges the contributions of poetry and short stories from other writers. It also lists the historic women whose revolutionary commentary on their own lives has helped anchor and frame the powerfully, resilient story of Women of African descent in the United States of America since 1600.
Abena Amoah is an emerging writer born in Ghana, West Africa. Abena fell in love with storytelling as a child through African drama movies and T.V shows. To this day, she remembers accounts of the joy in telling stories through performing in church and school plays. Abena began actively writing by keeping a notebook of poetry and short stories at the age of nine. A new voice among African writers, she aspires to tell stories that insist on visibility.
Her debut work, Unspoken, a collection of poetry, explores themes of trauma, self-discovery, and femininity through poetry. She is an advocate of mental health awareness and is pursuing a career as a mental health professional. Her long-term goal is to return home to Ghana and build a non-profit Youth Development Center that celebrates arts and with a mission to support adolescents in their overall growth and offer multiple opportunities for a range of skill-building and horizon-broadening experiences. Abena currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Halle Quinn Brown
Hallie Quinn Brown was born March 10, 1849 to formerly enslaved parents in Pittsburgh, PA. She was an educator, orator, delegate and activist for temperance, women’s suffrage and civil rights. In 1864 her parents migrated their family to Chatham Canada. They returned to the United States in 1870, settling in Wilberforce, OH. In 1873, Hallie received a B.S. degree from Wilberforce College. She taught in the South at freedmen’s schools, public schools, and colleges. In 1892, she served as a principal of the Tuskegee Institute. Hallie spoke at the Women’s Christian Temperance Union Conference in London. Later, as a U.S. representative, she spoke before the International Congress of Women in London. She spoke before Queen Victoria (UK) twice.
Renee Daniel “R.D.” Flagler
Renee Daniel “R.D.” Flagler is an award-winning writer, adjunct professor, and speaker who is passionate about inspiring women and youth to pursue their passion and purpose. Renee is the author of several novels, including Society Wives, which has been optioned for film. Renee writes romance novels under the pen name, Nicki Night. Her poetry has appeared in Ink & Voices. Renee received an MFA in Creative Writing from The College of New Rochelle and was the recipient of the graduate program’s inaugural Creative Writing Division Award for Excellence in Writing and Commitment to the Profession. She is an advocate for empowering youth by influencing literacy in the United States and abroad. Renee resides in New York City where she currently lives with her husband and children.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (Speech)
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was born on September 24, 1825 in Baltimore, MD. to free parents, both of whom died by the time she was three. Raised by her aunt and uncle, she attended their Watkins Academy for Negro Youth and also learned from their activism. She taught in Wilberforce, OH and York, PA before traveling across the United States and Canada as a lecturer for a many years. As a teacher, poet, writer, abolitionist, suffragist, and reformer, her work focused on equal rights, job opportunities, and education for African American women. Francis was a key speaker at the 11th National Women’s Rights Convention in New York City. She was a co-founder and vice president of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, and the director of the American Association of Colored Youth.
Kamala Harris (Speech)
Kamala Harris was elected Vice President of the United States in November 2020. She has worked in public service her holed career with prior elected roles as District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator. She was the second Back Woman to hold a senate seat. In 2019 she announced her candidacy for President of the United States; she later suspended her campaign. Several months later, she was selected as Joe Biden’s running mate. In November 2020, Biden and Harris were elected as President and Vice President of the United States of America.
LaShawnda Jones is an independent author, photographer and publisher for Harvest Life. Her work focuses on women, spiritual growth, social justice and experiencing the beauty of everyday life through gratitude. LaShawnda has published several books exploring the impact of childhood sexual trauma in adulthood as well as the challenges and joys of applying faith daily. She carries a B.A in Political Science and French and a M.A. in International Affairs. She has studied in France and Poland in addition to missionary training in New York City and Israel. LaShawnda Is a member of the RAINN Speaker’s Bureau and is available for speaking engagements nationally. She’s also available for photography assignments. Explore her work at Harvest-Life.org.
Kimberly Lee, a graduate of Stanford University and UC Davis School of Law, worked as a public defender and, later, as a sole practitioner in Los Angeles. She left the practice of law to focus on motherhood, community work, and creative pursuits. Kimberly’s stories and essays have appeared in The Sun, The Prompt, LA Parent, Literary Mama, The Satirist, (mac)ro(mic), Toasted Cheese, Thread, and Foliate Oak, as well as other publications. Kimberly currently lives in Southern California with her husband and three children.
Michelle Obama (Speech)
Michelle Obama, born on January 17, 1964, in Chicago, IL to working-class parents is the former First Lady of the United States of America for Barack Obama’s presidency. She attended Princeton University and received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988. She returned to Chicago to work at Sidley Austin as a junior associate specializing in marketing and intellectual property law. Soon after, she was assigned to mentor Barack Obama, a summer intern. She left corporate law for public service, and worked as an assistant commissioner with the City of Chicago and later, executive director of Public Allies. This led to an assistant dean position with the University of Chicago. Michelle was an extremely active member of the Obama Administration from 2009-2017. She championed healthy eating and movement, higher education and veterans initiatives during her tenure as FLOTUS. Since leaving the White House, Michelle has been building a multi-media empire, beginning with a best selling book, Becoming, released in 2018. The same year, she and her husband signed a multi-year production deal with Netflix. In 2020 she launched a podcast.
Lyn Patterson is a poet and flash fiction writer originally from Seattle, Washington. She has lived all over the east coast and currently travels while teaching online courses to aspiring reading teachers. She is inspired by poetry and flash fiction because of the creativity, healing, and reflection it provides both author and reader. Themes she explores are intersectionality, feminism, identity, non-western religious beliefs, and relationships in the digital age. She is currently working on her debut manuscript while salsa dancing every chance she gets. Titles included in this volume are Joy, Wash Days, and Pretty. She has been published in Art Cult Zine, Artcultzine.com, and Issue 8.
Sojourner Truth, born Isabella Baumfree in 1797 to enslaved parent in a Dutch-speaking household in Ulster County, NY, was an abolitionist, preacher, women’s rights activist, and author. In 1826 Isabella walked away from slavery. Soon after she learned her son, whom she left behind, had been sold and sent illegally to Alabama. She filed a complaint with the court to bring him back and won. In 1829 she became a Christian and moved to New York City with her son. On June 1, 1843, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth. In 1844, she joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry in Northampton, MA. This was the beginning of her national public speaking career.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett (Articles)
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was born on July 16, 1862 in Holly Springs, Mississippi to enslaved parents who became politically active during Reconstruction. Ida became a prominent journalist, activist, and researcher. By 1909, she was the leading anti-lynching campaigner. She spoke across the country and abroad. She was a co-founder of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club which was created to address issues dealing with civil rights and women’s suffrage. Additionally, she was in attendance at the founding meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), even though her name is not mentioned as an official founder.
Camille Worrell is a high school English teacher and writer who immerses herself in her craft daily through her lesson plans. Writing is a passion she began indulging at the age of nine. She’s the author of articles, stories, plays, affirmations and poetry.
To better understand the performer’s perspective and to perfect her playwriting technique, Camille began performing with the United Federation of Teachers Players, an organization that provides opportunities for members to express creativity through a wide variety of theatrical activities.
Camille co-wrote and published A Pearl of a Girl with her friend, S.E. Scott. They are currently writing a three-book series.
She is a contributing writer for the Canaan Voice, the newsletter of Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem, NY. As a member of the Micki Grant Performing Arts Ministry, she is able to perform her own work. She is also a member of The National Council of Negro Women, Inc., Co-op City Section, Bronx, NY where she implemented a women’s program in 2016.
Camille is working on solo non-fiction publication of her work.