If These Walls Could Talk

Image from Brian Lanker's photographic essay " I Dream a World, Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America"

My mother often jokes that my father doesn't throw anything away. I get her frustration with it all but am on my father's side with this. For my father, that home and the things in it represent the accomplishments of his life. I often notice the same type of "collecting"when I visit the homes of a people who has been in their home for many years. I can get an instance sense of that person's life. A quick glace around the room yields information about political and religious views, family history and life achievements. I am from Abbeville Mississippi I often say Oxford, Mississippi when asked because it is easier, but I am not from Oxford. I am from Abbeville Mississippi, where African- American land and home ownership goes back many many generations. I am the product of a proud home owning people. I know that my life work as a designer has a lot to do with the design that runs deep in my veins. The homemaking is natural, it is expected and it was taught. The furniture making however was a passion of my grandfather that found its way into my life.
When I can across this image of Autherine Lucy sitting on her sofa with the plastic still on it, it reminded me of the history of homemaking in my community. That plastic is a universal symbol of pride. It was only fitting, that she took her opportunity to by photographed, on that sofa, with the plastic still in tact.

In the coming months I will be collecting and posting images for homes of African Americans from decades past. If you have a favorite image of a room or a favorite book that showcases our contribution to the interior design world, please contact me at my office. I can't wait to share with you.


  1. Oh my word! This topic has absolutely educated me on why my grandmother kept the plastic on the sofa and those long triangular plastic runners on the carpet. They were proud of their accomplishments of purchasing the same sofa that they couldn't before in their lifetime sit on. Thanks Kimberly for reminding me of the sweetest memories of my late grandmother and the quiet pride that she was too humble to say vocally.


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