Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet: that’s how Audre Lorde described herself. Born in February 1934, Lorde was also a feminist and civil rights activist whose work drew attention to the lived experience of oppression in a patriarchal, racist and homophobic society.
For liberation movements to succeed, she argued in her trail-blazing collection of essays Sister Outsider, they must not only seek to find common ground in the experience of oppression: they must also recognise and embrace difference. Too often, feminism in the United States had focused on white women, ignoring the very different experiences of black, gay, working-class and disabled women. To ignore these differences, Lorde argued, is to continue the process of marginalisation and erasure that drives patriarchal, racist ideology.
Lorde died from breast cancer in 1992, but throughout the 1990s her work continued to influence the development of third-wave feminism and intersectionality, highlighting the importance of race, class, age, illness, disability and sexuality to any truly inclusive feminist movement.
To this day, her legacy inspires writers and activists across the world. This tea towel celebrates that legacy.