83 Facts About Audre Lorde


Audre Lorde was an American writer, womanist, radical feminist, professor, philosopher and civil rights activist.


Audre Lorde's mother was of mixed ancestry but could pass for Spanish, which was a source of pride for her family.


Nearsighted to the point of being legally blind and the youngest of three daughters, Audre Lorde grew up hearing her mother's stories about the West Indies.


Audre Lorde wrote her first poem when she was in eighth grade.


Audre Lorde spent very little time with her father and mother, who were both busy maintaining their real estate business in the tumultuous economy after the Great Depression.


Also in high school, Audre Lorde participated in poetry workshops sponsored by the Harlem Writers Guild, but noted that she always felt like somewhat of an outcast from the Guild.


On her return to New York, Audre Lorde attended Hunter College, and graduated in the class of 1959.


Audre Lorde furthered her education at Columbia University, earning a master's degree in library science in 1961.


In 1968 Audre Lorde was writer-in-residence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi.


Audre Lorde's time at Tougaloo College, like her year at the National University of Mexico, was a formative experience for her as an artist.


Audre Lorde led workshops with her young, black undergraduate students, many of whom were eager to discuss the civil rights issues of that time.


In 1977, Audre Lorde became an associate of the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press.


Audre Lorde taught in the Education Department at Lehman College from 1969 to 1970, then as a professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice from 1970 to 1981.


Audre Lorde was State Poet of New York from 1991 to 1992.


In 1985, Audre Lorde was a part of a delegation of black women writers who had been invited to Cuba.


Audre Lorde embraced the shared sisterhood as black women writers.


In 1984, Audre Lorde started a visiting professorship in West Berlin at the Free University of Berlin.


Audre Lorde was invited by FU lecturer Dagmar Schultz who had met her at the UN "World Women's Conference" in Copenhagen in 1980.


Together with a group of black women activists in Berlin, Audre Lorde coined the term "Afro-German" in 1984 and, consequently, gave rise to the Black movement in Germany.


Audre Lorde focused her discussion of difference not only on differences between groups of women but between conflicting differences within the individual.


Audre Lorde described herself both as a part of a "continuum of women" and a "concert of voices" within herself.


Audre Lorde considered herself a "lesbian, mother, warrior, poet" and used poetry to get this message across.


In 1968, Audre Lorde published The First Cities, her first volume of poems.


The volume includes poems from both The First Cities and Cables to Rage, and it unites many of the themes Audre Lorde would become known for throughout her career: her rage at racial injustice, her celebration of her black identity, and her call for an intersectional consideration of women's experiences.


Audre Lorde followed Coal up with Between Our Selves and Hanging Fire.


In Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, Audre Lorde asserts the necessity of communicating the experience of marginalized groups to make their struggles visible in a repressive society.


Audre Lorde emphasizes the need for different groups of people to find common ground in their lived experience, but to face difference directly, and use it as a source of strength rather than alienation.


Audre Lorde repeatedly emphasizes the need for community in the struggle to build a better world.


Audre Lorde insists that women see differences between other women not as something to be tolerated, but something that is necessary to generate power and to actively "be" in the world.


Audre Lorde explains that this is a major tool utilized by oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with the master's concerns.


Audre Lorde concludes that to bring about real change, we cannot work within the racist, patriarchal framework because change brought about in that will not remain.


Audre Lorde discusses the importance of speaking, even when afraid because one's silence will not protect them from being marginalized and oppressed.


Audre Lorde argues that women feel pressure to conform to their "oneness" before recognizing the separation among them due to their "manyness", or aspects of their identity.


Audre Lorde had several films that highlighted her journey as an activist in the 1980s and 1990s.


Audre Lorde inspired black women to refute the designation of "Mulatto", a label which was imposed on them, and switch to the newly coined, self-given "Afro-German", a term that conveyed a sense of pride.


Audre Lorde inspired Afro-German women to create a community of like-minded people.


Audre Lorde's writings are based on the "theory of difference", the idea that the binary opposition between men and women is overly simplistic; although feminists have found it necessary to present the illusion of a solid, unified whole, the category of women itself is full of subdivisions.


Audre Lorde wrote of all of these factors as fundamental to her experience of being a woman.


Audre Lorde argued that, although differences in gender have received all the focus, it is essential that these other differences are recognized and addressed.


Audre Lorde wants her difference acknowledged but not judged; she does not want to be subsumed into the one general category of 'woman.


Audre Lorde set out to confront issues of racism in feminist thought.


Audre Lorde maintained that a great deal of the scholarship of white feminists served to augment the oppression of black women, a conviction that led to angry confrontation, most notably in a blunt open letter addressed to the fellow radical lesbian feminist Mary Daly, to which Lorde claimed she received no reply.


Daly's reply letter to Audre Lorde, dated four months later, was found in 2003 in Audre Lorde's files after she died.


Audre Lorde argued that, by denying difference in the category of women, white feminists merely furthered old systems of oppression and that, in so doing, they were preventing any real, lasting change.


Audre Lorde's argument aligned white feminists who did not recognize race as a feminist issue with white male slave-masters, describing both as "agents of oppression".


Audre Lorde held that the key tenets of feminism were that all forms of oppression were interrelated; creating change required taking a public stand; differences should not be used to divide; revolution is a process; feelings are a form of self-knowledge that can inform and enrich activism; and acknowledging and experiencing pain helps women to transcend it.


Audre Lorde argues that a mythical norm is what all bodies should be.


Audre Lorde insists that the fight between black women and men must end to end racist politics.


Audre Lorde did not just identify with one category but she wanted to celebrate all parts of herself equally.


Audre Lorde was known to describe herself as black, lesbian, feminist, poet, mother, etc.


Audre Lorde's work focused on the importance of acknowledging, respecting and celebrating our differences as well as our commonalities in defining identity.


Audre Lorde urged her readers to delve into and discover these differences, discussing how ignoring differences can lead to ignoring any bias and prejudice that might come with these differences, while acknowledging them can enrich our visions and our joint struggles.


Audre Lorde wrote that we need to constructively deal with the differences between people and recognize that unity does not equal identicality.


Audre Lorde's idea was that everyone is different from each other and it is these collective differences that make us who we are, instead of one small aspect in isolation.


Audre Lorde herself stated that those interpretations were incorrect because identity was not so simply defined and her poems were not to be oversimplified.


Audre Lorde used those identities within her work and used her own life to teach others the importance of being different.


Audre Lorde was not ashamed to claim her identity and used it to her own creative advantages.


Audre Lorde was a lesbian and navigated spaces interlocking her womanhood, gayness and blackness in ways that trumped white feminism, predominantly white gay spaces and toxic black male masculinity.


Audre Lorde used those identities within her work and ultimately it guided her to create pieces that embodied lesbianism in a light that educated people of many social classes and identities on the issues black lesbian women face in society.


Third-wave feminism emerged in the 1990s after calls for "a more differentiated feminism" by first-world women of color and women in developing nations, such as Audre Lorde, who maintained her critiques of first world feminism for tending to veer toward "third-world homogenization".


Audre Lorde saw this already happening with the lack of inclusion of literature from women of color in the second-wave feminist discourse.


Poetry, considered lesser than prose and more common among lower class and working people, was rejected from women's magazine collectives which Audre Lorde claims have robbed "women of each others' energy and creative insight".


Audre Lorde found that "the literature of women of Color [was] seldom included in women's literature courses and almost never in other literature courses, nor in women's studies as a whole" and pointed to the "othering" of women of color and women in developing nations as the reason.


Audre Lorde expands on this idea of rejecting the other saying that it is a product of our capitalistic society.


Audre Lorde denounces the concept of having to choose a superior and an inferior when comparing two things.


However, Audre Lorde emphasizes in her essay that differences should not be squashed or unacknowledged.


Years later, on August 27,1983, Audre Lorde delivered an address apart of the "Litany of Commitment" at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.


Audre Lorde actively strove for the change of culture within the feminist community by implementing womanist ideology.


In 1962, Audre Lorde married attorney Edwin Rollins, who was a white, gay man.


In 1966, Audre Lorde became head librarian at Town School Library in New York City, where she remained until 1968.


Audre Lorde was briefly romantically involved with the sculptor and painter Mildred Thompson after meeting her in Nigeria at the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture.


Audre Lorde was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1978 and underwent a mastectomy.


Audre Lorde was featured as the subject of a documentary called A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde, which shows her as an author, poet, human rights activist, feminist, lesbian, a teacher, a survivor, and a crusader against bigotry.


Audre Lorde is the voice of the eloquent outsider who speaks in a language that can reach and touch people everywhere.


Audre Lorde died of breast cancer at the age of 58 on November 17,1992, in St Croix, where she had been living with Gloria Joseph.


Callen-Audre Lorde is the only primary care center in New York City created specifically to serve the LGBT community.


The Audre Lorde Project, founded in 1994, is a Brooklyn-based organization for LGBT people of color.


In June 2019, Audre Lorde was one of the inaugural fifty American "pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes" inducted on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor within the Stonewall National Monument in New York City's Stonewall Inn.


In 2014 Audre Lorde was inducted into the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display in Chicago, Illinois, that celebrates LGBT history and people.


The Audre Lorde Award is an annual literary award presented by Publishing Triangle to honor works of lesbian poetry, first presented in 2001.


The archives of Audre Lorde are located across various repositories in the United States and Germany.


The Audre Lorde Papers are held at Spelman College Archives in Atlanta.


In January 2021, Audre Lorde was named an official "Broad You Should Know" on the podcast Broads You Should Know.