Who is Audre Lorde? Google Doodle
Audre Lorde was an internationally acclaimed poet, professor, feminist, civil rights champion and LGBTQ+ advocate who was honored in the Google Doodle today, February 18, 2021, as a part of Black History Month. The Doodle was illustrated by Los Angeles-based guest artist Monica Ahanonu.
Lorde was a key activist in the 20th Century for civil rights and the LGBTQ+ community, would have been 87 today. The Google Doodle was published in honor of her birthday. The Google Doodle had eight panels and included quotes from one of her most recognized works, “Learning from the ’60s”.
Audre Lorde Early Life
Audre Geraldin Lorde was born the daughter of Caribbean immigrants on this day in 1934 in Harlem, New York City.
The influential works of Lorde may have never been written if it hadn’t been for a librarian, Augusta Baker, who taught her to read and write. Baker was her neighborhood librarian and an influential figure in her life, according to Google. Lorde’s full name was Audre Geraldine Lorde.
She attended Hunter High School, a public school for gifted girls, becoming its first Black student. Lorde was an introverted child, and after she learned about poetry, she began expressing her feelings through the medium.
When she was asked how she was, she would often respond through a poem she had memorized.
Audre Lorde Edward Rollins
Lorde married her husband, Edward Rollins, a white gay man, and the couple had two children, Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins and Jonathan Rollins. Lorde and Rollins were divorced in 1970. She went on to forge a relationship with her longtime partner, Frances Clayton, according to the Poetry Foundation.
Her children described her as “a complicated and passionate woman” in a statement to Google.
Audre Lorde Services
Lorde spent time in West Germany between 1984 and 1992 and taught poetry at the Free University in Berlin, according to Google. There, she also organized the local feminist movement through leading lectures and workshops on feminism, homophobia, classism, and racism.
She served as a mentor to Black German women and encouraged them to shape their own identities. She hosted “Poetry Readings & Rap Sessions” at The Academy of American Poets & The New York Public Library in 1971, according to a flyer published at the time.
It says admission was free and “teenagers specially invited.”
In her bio printed on the flyer, she says she is “black, woman and poet,” “outside the realm of choice.” She writes that she began teaching after spending time as a poet in residence at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi.
“…I became convinced, anti-academic though I am, that poets must teach what they know if we are to continue being,” she wrote.
Lorde also founded “Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press” in 1981 as a way to support other Black feminist authors, according to the Poetry Foundation. The group is now called “Kitchen Table Literary Arts.”
Audre Lorde Death
Lorde died in 1992 after a 14-year battle with breast cancer. She wrote about her battle with cancer in “The Cancer Journals,” published in 1980, according to the Poetry Foundation. Her awards and honors included a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
She was a professor of English at John Jay College and Hunter College and became poet laureate of New York from 1991-1992. Lorde was awarded the American Book Award in 1989. She also worked as a librarian at New York Public Libraries in the 1960s.
Her children, Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins and Jonathan Rollins said she would have been thrilled about the feature on Google.
Audre Lorde Cause of Death
Her children said in a statement:
Our mother Audre Lorde died in 1992 after a fourteen-year battle with metastatic breast cancer, but she would have loved the Google Doodle. She loved learning new things–and she would have been very honored to be featured. As mentioned above, she received her Master’s degree in Library Science because she was very big on cataloging information in an orderly fashion so it could be located, even if centuries separated the knowledge from its seeker. How she would have enjoyed sitting down to a keyboard…