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.
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."
Not only was Audre Lorde a writer and an activist
but she was an educator. She held numerous teaching positions
and toured the world as a lecturer. She formed coalitions between
Afro-German and Afro-Dutch women, founded a sisterhood in South
Africa, began Women of Color Press, and established the St. Croix
Women's Coalition. She was living in St. Croix at the time of her
Audre Lorde's awards and honors include:
National Endowment for the Arts grants, 1968 and 1981; Creative
Artists Public Service grants, 1972 and 1976; National Book Award
nominee for poetry, 1974 for From a Land Where Other People Live;
Broadside Poets Award, Detroit, 1975; Woman of the Year, Staten
Island Community College, 1975; Borough of Manhattan President's
Award for literary excellence, 1987; Walt Whitman Citation of
Merit; poet laureate of New York, 1991.
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