I had the great opportunity to pass my book, A Quilt of Dreams, (available on amazon.com) to Dr. William Colvin of Alabama State University to read and I asked him for a short review if he had the time after reading it. First of all you have to know this great man and his credentials.
Dr. William Colvin has devoted the majority of his life to the preservation of African-American history and culture through the visual arts, thereby impacting the careers of thousands of students and promoting the awareness and appreciation of the visual arts in the wider community. He began his long career as a visual artist at Alabama State University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in painting and secondary education from his beloved alma mater in 1951. Colvin earned a Master of Science degree from Indiana State University with a concentration in ceramics in 1961. In 1966, Colvin earned a Doctorate in Education from Illinois State University, with an emphasis in African-American history. He was the first African-American to receive a Doctorate in Education from Illinois State University.
Dr. Colvin’s extensive educational preparation has made him a leading scholar, art historian, lecturer and consultant on the visual arts. He has published several art catalogs, scholarly articles and other materials on African-American visual arts. His research titled “A Story of Art Programs in Predominately Negro Colleges” remains a much-consulted volume on this topic. Colvin’s expertise in African-American visual arts has made him a featured speaker at colleges and universities around the nation and the world.
He served as consultant and curator for The National Center from 2002-2012. In this capacity, he organized the National Center’s art exhibitions and other art programs. Under Colvin’s direction, the National Center has sponsored rotating art exhibitions, making it a leader in the collection and preservation of African-American visual arts.
It is well known that whenever Dr. Colvin tackles a job, he always does it to the best of his ability. I was so honored to receive this glowing review and words can not thank him enough for his thoughtful response and time:
Mrs. Muhammad this is a FANTASTIC publication!
You have truly created a story that is far beyond fiction. I was told by one of your admirers that it was a “biography but mostly fiction”. It is the most tragic story written with a very heartwarming affection. The beginning of the story of Mandy, the young healer, and the process of tragically forcing her into slavery was not fiction. It was a perfectly historical statement of how it was done. The process sounded exactly compatible to the research that we professors did in West Africa in 1973. We were carried completely through the act from village to the Portugal castle, bound to the wall with shackles and, then taken out in a paddle boat to the large slave ship awaiting out in the ocean. But you wrote it with such phenomenal description that it was a great pleasure to read. This was seen continuously throughout the book.
The most fictitious part of it was the tragedies caused by the spirited Quilt but the power that you placed in the Quilt made it feel that it was real.
While I felt that it was related to your family (this was not influenced by what I was told) was when you mentioned the name “Hayes” and the Tuskegee Air Training.
You certainly seem to know how to express the thoughts and hearts of individuals. Your ability to analyze, evaluate and construct your thoughts to create excellence in your writing is phenomenal. In a real sense, you are definitely in control of your imagination and minds of others.
Evidently you have conscious standards to determine when you are thinking righteously and truthfully. You can discover significance in the lives of others and think of ways to affect their thoughts to help them solve their problems through a conscious act and the will of God. Through your thoughts and writing, you can teach what you have experienced and learn through life. In your creativity, you can figure out the real meaning of what people are thinking and what they should be doing better in their lives. You observe the surface, beneath the surface and figure out the real meaning of the important gifts of God and how people should respond to them.
You explained your understanding of the issue in your writing, as you do in your paintings to help clarify social problems in their own mind with ease and clearness. Your life experience and knowledge can teach us your process of thinking to increase our thoughts, imagination and experience.
Summarily, you have stated several points at a time, elaborated on what it means, gave examples that will connect our thoughts to a better life.
You have excellently expressed thoughts and sensitive feelings of the will of God and your ability to do so caused you to publish an outstanding book that affects us soulfully and positively. This publication should be going well and far. Most importantly, a second or renewed volume of this material should be, strictly, published by you as a surge to all of us who need this history and knowledge.
It is a wonderful book and a great source to life. I really enjoyed reading it and thank you for the opportunity.