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Now that Boston has officially become a “Majority-Minority” city, with 53% of its residence non-white, it’s time to showcase the many contributions of its diverse citizens. That’s now been done in a graphically rich new “coffee table” book: Portraits of Purpose: A Tribute To Leadership.
Portraits of Purpose is a visual chronicle of 127 Boston-based African American leaders and their allies who have continued the pursuit of freedom and justice in a post-civil rights era. Renowned Boston photographer Don West and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kenneth J. Cooper teamed up to capture the images and shared the stories of these significant individuals of conscience. From Charles Ogletree, Jr. and Cheng Imm Tan to Elma Lewis and the up and coming Tulaine Montgomery, these leaders of action are portrayed for the significant contributions they have made to the region…and the country.
A seasoned photographer and consummate professional, Don captures the spirit and character of people, places and events. A newsman at the core, he likes to be where the action is.
West began his career as a freelance and news photographer, working for United Press International (UPI) and the Bay State Banner, Boston’s black weekly paper. He has since gone on to a host of photojournalistic assignments that have taken him throughout the United States, Latin America, Africa, China, Europe and the Middle East.
He is particularly proud to have served as Nelson Mandela’s photographer when he first visited Boston after release from prison, in South Africa; the official photographer for Mel King’s historic “Rainbow Coalition” Mayoral campaign; and to be called upon to cover special events of Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign in New England.
Likened to a “griot,” or people’s historian, Don uses his camera to provide visual witness to our rich diversity and collective contributions, capturing images and telling stories of individuals at work, at play, with their families, and in struggle for what they believe.
Kenneth J. Cooper is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor, veteran of 30 years at a major newspaper including The Washington Post and the Boston Globe. Currently, he is the editor for The Trotter Review, an annual scholarly journal focused on the history and culture of African Americans, published by the William Monroe Trotter Institute at UMass Boston. Independent writer for national magazines, freelance editor and consultant on journalism projects, Cooper is exploring new interests in the Middle East and is developing a major writing project, a historical narrative set in Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.
Learn more about the book at www.portraitsofpurpose.us
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