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Whether they have always known what they wanted or came to their vocations over time, the 30 women profiled in “Inspiration: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World,” have something in common, besides race.

“The foundation for all of these women in some way, shape or form helped support their work. They came to the realization that to succeed that it was going to require a great deal of hard work,” said Crystal McCrary, the book’s author and an entertainment lawyer who left the profession to become a full-time writer.

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The coffee-table book features powerful photos taken by noted portrait photographer and photojournalist Lauri Lyons and first-person interviews conducted by McCrary. Profiles include First Lady Michelle Obama, actresses Ruby Dee and Keke Palmer, singer Mary J. Blige and finance expert Mellody Hobson and women who may not quite be household names but are forces to be reckoned with in their fields, including: Nicole Avant, U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas, Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem and Misty Copeland, a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre, one of the few black women to dance with a majority, traditional ballet company.

The difficulty in putting the book together, McCrary told, was in narrowing down the group to 30 women.

“But you and I know there are millions and millions of black women who are inspiring.”

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Author Finds ‘Inspiration’ In Black Women’s Lives  was originally published on

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