Thinking of Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison

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

-Audre Lorde

“I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence.”

-Toni Morrison

Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison gave us so much. Their words wind through hearts and minds giving solace and stoking imagination. With exquisite precision and unyielding brilliance, they crafted hearty vocabularies capable of holding and expressing the universalism of their own experiences. What Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison wrote were truths Black women and Black people knew in their bones, but rarely saw in print. They eviscerated the intellectual and moral smallness of the American cultural imagination that relegated Blackness and specifically Black women to the margins.

We have been blessed by their inextinguishable light. Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison’s words are talismans, full of magic and protection. They hold up our wholeness in the face of a system designed to smash every facet of our humanity. To be Black in America is to be too much and never enough. To be Black in the words of Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison is to be complete in the complexity of ourselves, and that has always been enough.

Nina Simone “Feeling Good”

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