I can’t finish my post about the BookExpo social media panel, because I’ve been crying for the past hour about the news that our beloved friend Esther Dozier, pastor of the AME Zion Church here in Great Barrington, was murdered last night. I did not know Esther the way David did (through working on two books with her), but I’ve known Esther, and photographed her and her congregation, for years. She was an effervescent presence, a woman of faith with a sense of humor and much compassion. Here’s something I wrote about her just a few months ago, and David will be writing much more. At the moment he is dealing with reporters, who are apparently swarming the streets of Great Barrington.
Here is an AP story quoting David, and a few lines from it:
Levinson said Dozier also was involved in housing and homelessness issues and helped establish the African-American Heritage Trail that extends from Pittsfield to northern Connecticut. She also organized regular lectures about W.E.B. Dubois, the black educator who was born in Great Barrington.
“Even though her congregation was small, she turned the church into a force,” Levinson said. “There was no pretense with her. She was direct and honest and very funny.”