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Audre Lorde (1934 - 1992)

Audre Lorde was a pioneering African American poet, essayist, and activist whose work profoundly influenced feminist, lesbian, and civil rights movements. Born in New York City, Lorde's writings explored themes of race, gender, sexuality, and class, advocating for the empowerment of marginalized communities. She was the daughter of immigrant parents from the Caribbean nation of Grenada.

After earning a bachelor's degree in 1959 from Hunter College and a master's degree in library science from Columbia University in 1961, Lorde spent the 1960s employed as a librarian.

Lorde married Edward Rollins, a white gay man, and the two had two children before being divorced in 1970. In 1972, Lorde started dating Frances Clayton, who would become her long-term partner.

Lorde's poetry collections, including "The First Cities" (1968) and "Coal" (1976), challenged conventional literary norms and highlighted the experiences of Black women. Her prose, notably "Sister Outsider" (1984), provided a groundbreaking analysis of the intersections of identity and oppression.

As a staunch advocate for social justice, Lorde co-founded the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, amplifying the voices of women of color in publishing. She also played a pivotal role in the creation of the Women's Coalition of St. Croix, advocating for racial and gender equality in the Caribbean.

Lorde's activism extended beyond her literary contributions. She was a vocal critic of racism within feminist movements and championed the concept of intersectionality long before it gained widespread recognition. Her essay "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House" remains a seminal critique of systemic oppression.

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” - AUDRE LORDE

After receiving a breast cancer diagnosis in 1977, Lorde struggled with the lack of resources and support systems for black lesbians dealing with the disease. She wrote about her experience in The Cancer Journals (1980), which won the Gay Caucus Book of the Year Award from the American Library Association in 1981. Six years after receiving her breast cancer diagnosis, Lorde was diagnosed with liver cancer. She passed away from cancer on November 17, 1992, at the age of 58.

Throughout her life, Audre Lorde fearlessly confronted prejudice and discrimination, inspiring generations of activists to embrace their identities and fight for social change. Her legacy continues to resonate, reminding us of the power of words and the importance of solidarity in the pursuit of justice.

*A Litany For Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde -Trailer -Third World Newsreel

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