1934 – 1992 Audre Lorde

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Audre Lorde

1934 – 1992

Audre Lorde was born in New York City to Caribbean. She was an American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian and civil rights activist who was one of the first women to criticize second-wave feminism for overlooking issues of intersectionality.

In 1984, Lorde started a visiting professorship at the Free University of Berlin. She was invited by FU lecturer Dagmar Schultz, who had met her at the UN “World Women’s Conference” in 1980. During her time in Germany, Lorde became an influential part of the then-nascent Afro-German movement. Together with a group of black women activists in Berlin, she coined the term “Afro-German” in 1984.

Throughout Lorde’s inspirational career she included the idea of a collective identity in many of her poems and books. She did not just identify with one category but wanted to celebrate all parts of herself equally. She was known to describe herself as black, lesbian, feminist, poet, mother, etc. “I am defined as other in every group I’m part of,” she declared. “The outsider, both strength and weakness. Yet without community there is certainly no liberation, no future, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between me and my oppression.”

Lorde’s work on black feminism continues to be examined by scholars today. She identified issues of class, race, age, gender and health as being fundamental to the female experience. She argued that, although differences in gender have received all the focus, it is essential that other differences are also recognized and addressed. That ideology is the root of intersectional feminism as we have come to know it today.

Audrey Lorde (1983)
Audrey Lorde (1983) ⓒ Getty

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