Online Forum: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde standing in front of board reading "Women are powerful and dangerous." Source: The Guardian.
Audre Lorde (Wikimedia).

February 15-19, 2021

Black Perspectivesthe award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), is hosting a week-long online forum to celebrate the film A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde (Third World Newsreel, 1995). The film is described as “an epic portrait of the eloquent, award-winning Black, lesbian, poet, mother, teacher and activist, Audre Lorde, whose writings — spanning five decades — articulated some of the most important social and political visions of the century. From Lorde’s childhood roots in NYC’s Harlem to her battle with breast cancer, this moving film explores a life and a body of work that embodied the connections between the Civil Rights movement, the Women’s movement, and the struggle for lesbian and gay rights. At the heart of this documentary is Lorde’s own challenge to ‘envision what has not been and work with every fiber of who we are to make the reality and pursuit of that vision irresistible.'” The forum, organized by Keelyn Bradley (The European Graduate School) will explore the film and Lorde’s work with critical essays, interviews, and poetry. The roundtable begins on Monday, February 15 and concludes on Friday, February 19. It will feature pieces by Keelyn BradleyKenyon FarrowTiffany FlorvilAlexis Pauline Gumbs, JT Takagi and Ada Griffin.

During the week of the online roundtable, Black Perspectives will publish new blog posts every day at 5:30AM EST. Please follow Black Perspectives (@BlkPerspectives) and AAIHS (@AAIHSon Twitter, like AAIHS on Facebook, or subscribe to our blog for updates. By subscribing to Black Perspectives, each new post will automatically be delivered to your inbox during the week of the roundtable.

About the Organizer

Keelyn Bradley is a PhD candidate in the Philosophy, Art, and Social Thought program (PAS), the Division of Philosophy, Art, and Critical Thought at The European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland. He is currently working on his dissertation, “Suffering Neoliberalism: Searching for the Meaning of ‘the right to equal protection’ in an Era of HIV/AIDS and Terrorism.” This study intends to research Frantz Fanon and Hannah Arendt’s theories of violence and embodiment and their dual relation to Karl Jaspers’ existentialism, while addressing the social and historical developments between the aesthetic dimensions of disease, disability, race, and heteronormativity. His poetry and plays have been included in the anthologies In Defense Of Mumia (Writers and Readers, 1996) and Mighty Real: An Anthology of African American Same-Gender Loving Writing (Effuses/Sangha Publishing, 2011). His first collection of poetry, hunger, is forthcoming. He has worked on several short and feature-length film productions, most notably Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman (1996). Follow him on Twitter @koal2k.

About the Participants

Kenyon Farrow is a writer, editor, and strategist. He is the co-executive director of Partners for Dignity & Rights, a national organization that works to guarantee universal rights for people across the United States. Previously Kenyon served as senior editor of & and Global Health Policy director with Treatment Action Group (TAG). He is also known for his work with organizations such as Queers for Economic Justice, Critical Resistance, and FIERCE! In addition to his political work, Kenyon is a prolific essayist and author. He is the co-editor of the book Letters From Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out. His work has also appeared in many anthologies including Spirited: Affirming the Soul of Black Lesbian and Gay IdentityFor Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not EnoughWe Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America, and Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call. His work has also appeared in publications such as POZ, The Atlantic, OUT,, TheGrio, Colorlines, Logo, ReWire News, City Limits, HuffPost, The American Prospect, and AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @kenyonfarrow.

Tiffany N. Florvil is an Associate Professor of 20th-century European Women’s and Gender History at the University of New Mexico. She specializes in the histories of post-1945 Europe, the African/Black diaspora, social movements, as well as gender and sexuality. She has published pieces in the Journal of Civil and Human Rights and The German Quarterly. Florvil has also coedited the volume, Rethinking Black German Studies: Approaches, Interventions and Histories with Peter Lang Press, as well as published chapters in Gendering Post-1945 German History, To Turn this Whole World Over, and Gendering Knowledge in Africa and the African Diaspora. Her recent manuscript, Mobilizing Black Germany: Afro-German Women and the Making of a Transnational Movement, with the University of Illinois Press, offers the first full-length study of the history of the Black German movement of the 1980s to the 2000s. She is a Board Member of the International Federation for Research in Women’s History (IFRWH) as well as on the Advisory Board for the Black German Heritage and Research Association, the Editorial Board for Central European History, and the Executive Board for the Journal of Civil and Human Rights. She is also an editor of the “Imagining Black Europe” book series at Peter Lang Press. Follow her on Twitter @tnflorvil.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is the author of the forthcoming book The Eternal Life of Audre Lorde: Biography as Ceremony, the founder of the School of Our Lorde, and the first researcher to engage the Audre Lorde Papers at Spelman College. Alexis is the author of Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals, Dub: Finding Ceremony, Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity and co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines. Alexis is the co-founder of the Mobile Homecoming Trust, a living library of Black LGBTQ Brilliance and Care in Durham, NC.  She is currently a National Humanities Fellow and the creative writing editor of Feminist Studies. Follow her on Twitter @alexispauline.

JT Takagi (Orinne JT Takagi) is an award winning independent film maker and sound recordist. Her films are primarily on Asian/Asian-American and immigrant issues and include BITTERSWEET SURVIVAL, THE #7 TRAIN, THE WOMEN OUTSIDE and NORTH KOREA: BEYOND THE DMZ, which all aired on PBS. As a sound engineer, she has recorded for numerous public television and theatrical documentaries with Emmy and Cinema Audio Society nominations including the 2018 Oscar nominated and Emmy winning STRONG ISLAND by Yance Ford, BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION and TELL THEM WE ARE RISING by Stanley Nelson, and others. She also manages Third World Newsreel, a non-profit alternative media center, and serves on the boards of both community and national organizations working on peace and social justice.

Ada Gay Griffin is an activist from western Pennsylvania just outside of Pittsburgh. She is the co-director of the award-winning A Litany for Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde (1995) with Michelle Parkerson. She is the former executive director of Third World Newsreel, a social justice organization committed to building critical media audiences, training emerging artists, and producing independent and alternative media works since the 60s. Third World Newsreel productions, like Litany, are distributed through educators, festivals, conferences, and broadcast media throughout the US and the world. Ada’s education and training include a fellowship with the Charles H. Revson Fellows on the Future of the City of New York at Columbia University, and study at the Third World Newsreel Advanced Production Workshop in 1982, Hampshire College (B.A. 1980), and New York University’s Summer Film Institute (1977).

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