Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde Project

Audre Lorde

February 12, 2021

Self-described as Black, a lesbian, a mother, a socialist, a warrior, and a poet, Audre Lorde was born in February of 1934 and grew up in Harlem, New York with immigrant parents from the West Indies. 

Her childhood was filled with art and poetry, as her talents showed through at a young age. Her work was published in Seventeen magazine before her seventeenth birthday. Inspired by anything and everything, Lorde often spoke about the impact poetry had on her early life. 

Lorde went to Hunters College as an undergraduate before going to Columbia University for graduate school. After graduating she taught for most of the 60s, before moving to work as a librarian. It was during this time in which academia started to have an impact on Lorde’s life and career. Lorde’s contributions to gender studies, queer theory, race in academia, and intersectional theory are prominent and have left a lasting impact on these fields to this day. 

Her poetry was held in great esteem, and she often used her voice to fight the marginalization of LGBTQ+ citizens and Black women. She was a social activist whose work helped bring a voice to the experiences of Black women and lesbians. 

“My sexuality is part and parcel of who I am, and my poetry comes from the intersection of me and my worlds,” Lorde once said. 

In the 80s Lorde turned her focus to uplifting the voices of Black feminists everywhere, creating Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press with friend and colleague Barbara Smith. In addition to her work in the states, Lorde created the Sisterhood in Support of Sisters in South Africa an organization to bring attention to the plight of apartheid in South Africa. 

Before passing in 1992, Lorde spent the majority of her career fighting norms and pushing back against the status quo. Her very existence as a Black queer woman in academia pushed barriers, and she dedicated her life to pushing for more seats at the table for women of color. You can find her collective works here

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