“I am a Black Feminist. I mean I recognize that my power as well as my primary oppressions come as a result of my blackness as well as my womaness, and therefore my struggles on both of these fronts are inseparable.” -Audre Lorde
Her entire life is quotable genius. Audre Lorde is a self-described Black-lesbian feminist mother lover poet. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg with this civil rights activist. As a critic of what she saw as feminism’s blindness to racial differences, Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing the injustices of racism, sexism and homophobia.
Must Read: Is Michelle Obama A ‘Feminist Nightmare’?
Lorde’s groundbreaking poetry was captured in her books: First Cities and From a Land Where Other People Live, but it was perhaps her books on issues of identity and concerns about global issues, New York Head Shop and Museum, Coal and The Black Unicorn that gained her the most attention. Lorde is best known for her works during her battle with breast cancer, The Cancer Journals. Lorde battled cancer for 14 years and during the last years of her life, she moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands and changed her name to Gamba Adisa, meaning “she who makes her meaning clear.”
Lorde was noted for eloquent prose, which is why her quotes are widely shared as motivation and inspiration to us all. Here are some of her best.
1. If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.
2. I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.
3. It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.
4. I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.
5. I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.
6. Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.
7. Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.
8. Revolution is not a one time event.
9. I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do. I am going to write fire until it comes out of my ears, my eyes, my noseholes–everywhere. Until it’s every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a f*cking meteor!
10. Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution, but more usually we must do battle where we are standing.
11. As move toward creating a society within which we can each flourish, ageism is another distortion of relationship which interferes without vision. By ignoring the past, we are encouraged to repeat its mistakes.
12. Some women wait for themselves around the next corner and call the empty spot peace, but the opposite of living is only not living and the stars do not care.
13. For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
14. As we come to know, accept, and explore our feelings, they will become sanctuaries and fortresses and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas — the house of difference so necessary to change and the conceptualization of any meaningful action.
15. If our history has taught us anything, it is that action for change directed against the external conditions of our oppressions is not enough.
Check Out This Gallery Of Black Women In History You Should Know!
50 Dynamic Black Women In History You Should Know
1. Vice President Kamala HarrisSource:Getty 1 of 51
2. Pearl CleageSource:Getty 2 of 51
3. Robin KellySource:Getty 3 of 51
4. Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019)Source:Getty 4 of 51
5. Zora Neale HurstonSource:Getty 5 of 51
6. ZaneSource:Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images 6 of 51
7. Unita Blackwell (1933 – 2019)Source:Jack Mitchell/Getty Images 7 of 51
8. Rebecca WalkerSource:Bettmann/Getty Images 8 of 51
9. Wilma Rudolph (1940 – 1994)Source:Bettmann/Getty Images 9 of 51
10. Sonia SanchezSource:Jack Mitchell/Getty Images 10 of 51
11. Terry McMillanSource:Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images 11 of 51
12. Terri SewellSource:Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images 12 of 51
13. Suzan Lori-ParksSource:Matthew Eisman/Getty Images 13 of 51
14. Susan RiceSource:Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images 14 of 51
15. Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883)Source:Photo12/UIG via Getty Images 15 of 51
16. Shirley Chisholm (1924 - 2005)Source:Leif Skoogfors/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images 16 of 51
17. Ruth SimmonsSource:Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images 17 of 51
18. Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005)Source:U S News & World Report Collection/Warren K Leffler/PhotoQuest/Getty Images 18 of 51
19. Phillis Wheatley (1753 – 1784)Source:GraphicaArtis/Getty Images 19 of 51
20. Octavia Butler (1947 – 2006)Source:Malcolm Ali/WireImage via Getty Images 20 of 51
21. Ntozake Shange (1948 – 2018)Source:Ilir Bajraktari/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images) 21 of 51
22. Nikki GiovanniSource:Kris Connor/Getty Images 22 of 51
23. Michelle ObamaSource:Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images 23 of 51
24. Michaëlle JeanSource:Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images 24 of 51
25. Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)Source:Axel Koester/Corbis via Getty Images 25 of 51
26. Mary McLeod Bethune (1875 – 1955)Source:Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images 26 of 51
27. Mary Church Terrell (1863 – 1954)Source:Corbis/Getty Images 27 of 51
28. Lorraine Hansberry (1930 – 1965)Source:David Attie/Getty Images 28 of 51
29. Karen BassSource:Maury Phillips/Getty Images 29 of 51
30. Ida B. Wells (1862 – 1931)Source:Chicago History Museum/Getty Images 30 of 51
31. Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913)Source:Photo 12/UIG via Getty Image 31 of 51
32. Gloria Naylor (1950 – 2016)Source:Getty 32 of 51
33. Ellen Johnson-SirleafSource:Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images 33 of 51
34. Dr. Dorothy Height (1912 – 2010)Source:Bettmann/Corbis/Getty Images 34 of 51
35. Rep. Donna EdwardsSource:Getty 35 of 51
36. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (1917 – 2000)Source:Bettmann/Getty Images 36 of 51
37. Fannie Lou Hamer (1917 – 1977)Source:Warren K Leffler/PhotoQuest/Getty Images 37 of 51
38. Dame Eugenia Charles (1919 – 2005)Source:PASCAL DELLA ZUANA/Sygma via Getty Images 38 of 51
39. Cynthia McKinneySource:Tim Grant/WireImage via Getty Images 39 of 51
40. Coretta Scott King (1927 – 2006)Source:Ed Jenner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images 40 of 51
41. Condoleezza RiceSource:Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images 41 of 51
42. Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieSource:Jack Taylor/Getty Images 42 of 51
43. Madame C.J. Walker (1867 – 1919)Source:Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images 43 of 51
44. Cathy HughesSource:Pat Candido/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images 44 of 51
45. Bessie A. Buchanan (1902 – 1980)Source:Pat Candido/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images 45 of 51
46. bell hooksSource:Anthony Barboza/Getty Images 46 of 51
47. Bebe Moore Campbell (1950 – 2006)Source:Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage via Getty Images 47 of 51
48. Barbara Smith (1949 – 2020)Source:Brian Ach/WireImage via Getty Images 48 of 51
49. Ayanna PressleySource:Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images 49 of 51
50. Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992)Source:Jack Mitchell/Getty Images 50 of 51
51. Angela DavisSource:Jemal Countess/Getty Images 51 of 51
Remembering Audre Lorde: 15 Of The Writer & Activist’s Most Inspiring Quotes Of All Time was originally published on hellobeautiful.com