Moments in the Shadow of Greatness provides a glimpse of movers and shakers that inspire and motivate everyday people through their life examples.

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“Be not afraid of greatness; some are Born great, some achieve greatness, and

Others have greatness thrust upon them.”

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) British poet and playwright.

Featuring left to right / top to bottom: Jessie Menifield Rattley, Barack Hussein Obama II, Andrew Jackson Young Jr., Muhammad Ali, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama and Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks, Sr. Illustrations by Jessica J. Bryant


Gordon Parks – Page 29

“It was during that interview with Parks that he shared the story of how he became the first black film director in Hollywood.  He said, “After I wrote the “Learning Tree” and it became a successful book, several people came toward me to buy it for film.  Finally, John Cassavetes, the actor, called me and said: I read the book.  I think you should direct it.  I said, John you know there are no black directors in Hollywood and there are not going to be any black directors in Hollywood.  And he said, “Well, I think I know a guy just ornery enough to do it. 

I don’t like him, and he doesn’t like me, but would you come out here the day after tomorrow?”  That’s what I did.  I went out to Hollywood, met Kenneth Hyman, who was the head of Warner Brothers Seven Arts at the time, and the man just miraculously said to me: I love your book. We want to do a film.  And, he didn’t care about the long-lasting law of discrimination or bigotry.  He didn’t pay attention to it.  His father owned the studio, and they had the money.  

And he said, not only do I want you to direct it, I want you to write the music for it, I want you to write the screenplay and I want you to produce it.  It was all over just like that.  In fifteen minutes, because a man who had the integrity, lacked the discriminatory practices of his forefathers, and said I’m going to put a black man in here to do his particular book into a film; and that’s what happened.  

I was very happy about that.  It’s what my whole beginning was about; Trying to open it up for other black people.  In fact, when I was doing “Learning Tree” as the first black director in Hollywood, I immediately asked for some other blacks to work with me behind the camera. They told me that would be impossible because no blacks were trained for it. I said let’s try to find some.  They might be out there.  You can never tell.  And so, Kenny Hyman said, ok we’ll try.  And we tried.  And we had about eight people.  Finally, it was more black people behind the camera than in the history of Hollywood.”

Moments in the Shadow of Greatness Book Testimonials

“Mr. Addison gives the reader permission to gaze through his personal “reminisce window” providing previously unknown insights which amplifies the greatness of each of the African Americans profiled in “Moments in the Shadow of Greatness.”  The book takes young and old on a soulful journey and is both inspiring and motivational.  It’s a great addition to any library.”Beverly Finklea, Claims Adjudicator II

“I really enjoyed the first-person perspective of “Moments in the Shadow of Greatness.”  As a teacher of African American Studies, I found it easy to read and to build lesson plans around the information contained throughout its pages.  The additional web links provided me with a perfect resource for student AP writing projects.  This book is an ideal learning and motivational teaching tool for educators everywhere.”  Karen Henderson, AP Teacher

“Moments in the Shadow of Greatness,” an absolute must-read for anyone searching for positive influences or role-models of recognized self-worth and prominence. George offers his readers a dazzling glimpse into the lives of people with courage and fortitude, while simultaneously, defying the odds. This book was exhilarating, captivating, and very thought-provoking, to say the least.  The author gives insight into the lives of the great men and women who influenced the decisions of his life. While reading, I had the feeling of being with George as he sat and spoke with each person.  Truly a great read, let’s do it again, George.  I’ll be waiting!”  Lorraine Brown, District Court Clerk.

“What a privilege it was to sit in my favorite chair in my favorite room with “Moments in the Shadow of Greatness” in hand.  George mindfully guides you through each page of his personal journey as it intersects with the most power-filled, influential, intentional and down to earth individuals that ever graced the planet. Under the low lamp light of my favorite room, I was transcended by George’s stories and his ability to “write” you into his life narrative…filled with divine orchestrated moments like Gordon Parks responding to his letter even when due to Mr. Parks’ time constraints, hundreds went unanswered! Easy to read and easy to “feel”, the sacred moments that George experienced with these monumental individuals, left an indelible imprint on my spirit, mind and heart!”Chandra Stroud, Executive Director, Hands Up Community Resource Center, Inc.

“Information is truly power.  Moments in the Shadow of Greatness appeals to all ages, providing inspiration.  Thanks also to the author’s candor, proving it doesn’t matter where you start, it’s all about pursuing your dreams.”  Kim Hicks-Dye, Journalist

“Man, Moments in the Shadow of Greatness was a great and inspirational read!! Loved it!!”  Michael Penick, Physical Therapist

“After getting to know George and the inspiring soul he is, it was amazingly insightful to read about his influences, and the mentors & friends that have impacted him on his journey down life’s path. I especially enjoyed the website links he provided so I could visit and explore in further depth the stunning photos by Gordon Parks Sr, and the uplifting programs and services provided by both the Ali and Obama organizations. I very much look forward to continued learning from George’s rich, and diverse life experiences in this “Moments in the Shadow of Greatness” series of books.  It is going to be a pleasure to follow him down the blessed road along which he has traveled over the years.”  Brian Jones, MRI Technician

“Have you ever thought about the famous people that you see or hear about in the news and wondered to yourself what they were really like?  Usually your opportunity to see them is on television, or at speaking engagements, or while they are performing, but you have little or no chance to meet, talk with, or really get to know them.  If you did, you would find that they are people just like you and me.  That is what George Addison does in his series of books “Moments in the Shadow of Greatness.”  He has had numerous opportunities to interview famous and not so famous movers and shakers that have impacted our society, nation and the world.  He has met, talked with, worked with, and / or been mentored by the people in this book and is able to give us a glimpse at the person.”  Brenda Cross, Business Consultant

“You can read George Addison’s “Moments in the Shadow of Greatness” and realize that he’s a gifted writer who sees and shares stories that other writers might miss. The way George passes on this history is personal and a true blessing. I enjoyed reading this informative and insightful book and getting a glimpse into history.  I look forward to passing this knowledge to my kids and friends alike.  I thank George for his time and effort for making this inspiring book a reality.”  Terry Lloyd, Corporate Security Specialist

“I really enjoyed reading “Moments in the Shadow of Greatness” this book is a memoir of the many mentors that impacted the author’s life journey.  The book provides the reader insight into the influences that assisted the author in fulfilling his dreams.  Not a boring moment.  Moments in the Shadow of Greatness is an easy read and flows very well.  I was very pleased and impressed.”  Dedra Daugherty, Law Enforcement / Traffic Officer


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