Audre Lorde

In honor of Black History Month, every school day The Cardinal will feature a prominent and historical Black American, living or dead, who has worked toward change, advancement, and/or world peace. Some of them are heroes, and some are unsung heroes, who deserve recognition, and have made a contribution to society.


Alejandra Ramirez, Staff Writer

Audre Lorde was an American writer, feminist, professor, and civil rights activist. She was a black, lesbian, mother, and poet, who dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.

Audre was born February 18 1934 in Harlem, New York. While she attended Hunter High School, she published her first poem in Seventeen magazine. In her career, Lorde was a professor in the English department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hunter College. She received many awards throughout her career, such as, the 1990 Bill Whitehead Memorial Award and the 1991 Walt Whitman Citation of Merit. She served as the state’s Poet Laureate of New York between 1991 and 1992. Her work and existence emphasized the ways in which communities that were demanding equality and representation, those who were feminist, civil, and queer, had more to gain by understanding and working together than they ever could accomplish on their own.

Lorde was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1978 and underwent a mastectomy which affected her life dramatically. 18 months after, she wrote one of her most famous books, The Cancer Journals, in which she talks about her struggle with cancer in unfiltered inner dialogue entries she wrote and related it to her strong advocacy identity in certain social issues such as lesbian, civil rights, and feminist issues. Besides her strong attitude and determination against this disease, she sadly passed away six years later on November 17, 1992.