Life

It's Feminist Audre Lorde's 80th Birthday, and Here Are 7 Important Quotes Celebrating Her Legacy

Black feminist foremother Audre Lorde would’ve celebrated her 80th birthday today. The self-described black feminist lesbian mother poet used a mixture of prose, theory, poetry, and experience to interrogate oppressions and uplift marginalized communities. She was one of the first black feminists to target heteronormativity, and to encourage black feminists to expand their understanding of erotic pleasure. She amplified anti-oppression, even as breast cancer ravaged her ailing body. Though Audre Lorde died in 1992, we celebrate her life, work, and passion with some of her most powerful quotes.

On Knowing Yourself

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”

Jack Mitchell/Archive Photos/Getty Images

On Speaking Out

“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.”

Jack Mitchell/Archive Photos/Getty Images

On Caring For Yourself

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

Jack Mitchell/Archive Photos/Getty Images

On Our Differences

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

Jack Mitchell/Archive Photos/Getty Images

On Fear

“I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.”

Jack Mitchell/Archive Photos/Getty Images

On Speaking Up For Others

“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.”

Jack Mitchell/Archive Photos/Getty Images

On Black Men and Women

“Black women sharing close ties with each other, politically or emotionally, are not the enemies of Black men.”

Jack Mitchell/Archive Photos/Getty Images
17