Audre Lorde – USA (1934-1992)

Linked with The Audre Lorde Project ALP.

The Great Debate / Audre Lorde Project, Wednesday, October 29, 2008, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Where: @ALP.

Audre Geraldine Lorde (February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992) was an Caribbean-American writer, poet and activist. Lorde was born in New York City to Caribbean immigrants Frederick Byron Lorde and Linda Gertrude Belmar Lorde, who settled in Harlem. Nearsighted to the point of being legally blind, and the youngest of three daughters, Lorde grew up hearing her mother’s stories about the West Indies. She learned to talk while she learned to read, at the age of four, and her mother taught her to write at around the same time. She wrote her first poem when she was in eighth grade … Lorde set out actively to challenge white women, confronting issues of racism in feminist thought. She maintained that a great deal of the scholarship of white feminists served to augment the oppression of black women, a conviction which led to angry confrontation, most notably in the scathing open letter addressed to radical lesbian feminist Mary Daly … (full text).



Audre Lorde – USA (1934-1992)

Audre Lorde Scholarship Fund.

It is with great sadness and loss that I report the death of Audre Lorde, black lesbian feminist, poet, essayist, warrior and mother.  Audre, who was a personal heroine of mine, died Tuesday night, November 17, at her home in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. She was 58 years old.  She had been fighting cancer for the past 15 years; first breast and finally liver cancer. Audre was born in New York City of West Indian parents in 1934. At the time of her death, she was New York State Poet for 1991-1993 (Walt Whitman Citation).  She was Professor of English at Hunter College and was a founding member of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press as well as Sisterhood in Support of Sisters in South Africa (SISA). My girl lectured in Russia, Australia, Africa, (among other countries) and taught frequently in Berlin (where there are black German sisters and brothers and Africans, too).  It was there in Germany she received alternative cancer treatments for 8 years … (full text, Nov. 25, 1992).

Some of her books:

… Her first volume of poems, The First Cities, was published in 1968. In 1968 she also became the writer-in-residence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, where she discovered a love of teaching. In Tougaloo she also met her long-term partner, Frances Clayton. The First Cities was quickly followed with Cables to Rage (1970) and From a Land Where Other People Live (1972), which was nominated for a National Book Award. In 1974 she published New York Head Shot and Museum. Whereas much of her earlier work focused on the transience of love, this book marked her most political work to date … (full text).

A Tribute to Audre Lorde.

She says: “As I have said elsewhere, it is not the destiny of black America to repeat white America’s mistakes. But we will, if we mistake the trappings of success in a sick society for the signs of a meaningful life. If black men continue to do so, defining ‘femininity’ in its archaic European terms, this augurs ill for our survival as a people, let alone our survival as individuals. Freedom and future for blacks do not mean absorbing the dominant white male disease. . . As black people, we cannot begin our dialogue by denying the oppressive nature of male privilege. And if black males choose to assume that privilege, for whatever reason, raping, brutalizing, and killing women, then we cannot ignore black male oppression. One oppression does not justify another.” (University of Minnesota).

A fundraiser for the New Jersey 4, hosted by the Brecht Forum and co-sponsored by the Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE and, was held here on Sept. 16. The Jersey 4 are young African-American lesbians from Newark, N.J., who were convicted of “gang assault” charges in June 2007 after defending themselves against a man who attacked them and three of their friends in August 2006 … (full text).

Google download books:

Audre Lorde was born in 1934 in New York to parents of West Indian heritage. She passed away in 1992, a victim of breast cancer. Her battle with the disease, which was chronicled in works like The Cancer Journals, was just one of many struggles she had to deal with in life. Audre Lorde was a black homosexual female in a world dominated by white heterosexual males. She fought for justice on each of these minority fronts. Her writings protest against the swallowing of black American culture by an indifferent white population, against the perpetuation of sex discrimination, and against the neglect of the movement for gay rights. Her poetry, however, is not entirely political in content. It is extremely romantic in nature and is described by Joan Martin as ringing with, “passion, sincerity, perception, and depth of feeling” … (more … ).

10th Annual Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch.

She says also: When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid … and: Each time you love, love as deeply as if it were forever / Only, nothing is eternal … and: I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect … and: Your silence will not protect you … and: We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit because what was native has been stolen from us, the love of Black women for each other … and: I have always wanted to be both man and woman, to incorporate the strongest and richest parts of my mother and father within/into me — to share valleys and mountains upon my body the way the earth does in hills and peaks … (full text wikiquote).

Audre Lorde, essayist, poet and novelist was born on February 18, 1934. She learned to read and write at the age of 4. (full text).

FROM THE MINUTES OF THEIR ORGANIZED meetings to programs of their Audre Lorde Scholarship Fund events, the papers that make up the some 20-year history of ZAMI will forever be available to the public and serve as a ray of light on the history of lesbians of color. “We had always had our eyes set on the Lesbian Herstory Archives in New York as a permanent home for our papers when that time came and had never considered the Auburn Avenue Research Library,” acknowledges Mary Anne Adams, board chair of ZAMI, an organization for lesbians of African descent … (full text).

ZAMI honors Audre Lorde award winners.

Teaching for social justice is an educational philosophy that proponents argue teaches for justice and equity all learners in all educational settings.[1] The practice extends across all grade levels and academic settings, often challenging educators themselves as well as students. (full text). Sudbury model of democratic education schools maintain that values, social justice included, must be learned through experience, as Aristotle said: “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them” … (full text).

Find her Bio and her publications on wikipedia/ Bibliography; on Modern American Poetry; on University of Illinois; on inauthor Google-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

And she says: “Strongly woman-identified women where love between women is open and possible, beyond physical in every way. There are lesbians, God knows . . . if you came up through lesbian circles in the forties and fifties in New York . . . who were not feminist and would not call themselves feminists. But the true feminist deals out of a lesbian consciousness whether or not she ever sleeps with women. I can’t really define it in sexual terms alone although our sexuality is so energizing why not enjoy it too? But that comes back to the whole issue of what the erotic is. There are so many ways of describing “lesbian.” Part of the lesbian consciousness is an absolute recognition of the erotic within our lives and, taking that a step further, dealing with the erotic not only in sexual terms. While Black sisters don’t like to hear this, I would have to say that all Black women are lesbians because we were raised in the remnants of a basically matriarchal society no matter how oppressed we may have been by patriarchy. We’re all dykes, including our mommas. Let’s really start getting past the shibboleths and taboos. They don’t really matter. Being able to recognize that the function of poetry or any art is to ennoble and empower us in a way that’s not separate from our living, that belief is African in origin. (full interview texts).

Is Audre Lorde a Postcolonial Writer? – Does Audre Lorde belong on a page of postcolonial writers? She was, after all, born in New York City. To raise this question is to ask again, what does the term “postcolonial” mean? Debates have raged on the issue of terminology (see the special issue of Social Text and volume 26 1 & 2 of Ariel for articles on this subject). While birthplace or other factors can be the determinant, another indication of postcolonial status would be the purpose and mentality of the writing. If the postcolonial writer is one who poses a challenge to the dominant Eurocentric model, Audre Lorde fits in many times over. She grew up in a household of West Indian immigrants, probably her most conventional connection to the commonly thought of postcolonial model. She shares the experience of seeing her black culture endangered by the predominant white one, her homosexual lifestyle unrecognized as valid, and her status as a woman constantly relegated to that of a second class citizen … (full text for bio, awards, selected works and for a poem).


related ideas and texts on wikipedia:

Sex, wine, chocolate — mmm, oh my – Queer, straight activists party to raise funds for reproductive justice;

Make it a date: Common Roots;

What Does Poetry Mean to You?

Corrales Harvest Festival.

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