From protests to think pieces, trailblazing advocacy has been central to the contributions of some of the greatest female leaders. This March, we celebrate the women whose words inspire and ignite wherever they are read or heard. That’s why we’re placing the spotlight on Audre Lorde’s intersectional advocacy and Amanda Gorman’s poetic resistance. These two women have produced insightful essays and poetry that challenge and explore the multifaceted identities and complexities of womanhood.
Audre Lorde: Intersectionality as Advocacy
Audre Lorde was born February 1934. An acclaimed Poet, essayist, and novelist, Audre Lorde’s work revolved around intersectionality, civil rights, community, feminism, queer rights, and Black identity. One of the greatest female leaders in literature, she was not afraid to use the power of the pen and challenged her peers to think deeper and to think critically. Her criticism of second-wave feminism gave way to an intersectional understanding of multi-dimentional identity and gendered oppression.
Amanda Gorman: Poetry as Resistance
Amanda Gorman is another great female leader who has inspired millions with her words. Born in March 1998, she became the youngest inaugural poets in U.S history. She was also the first person to be named the National Youth Poet. Her work both as a poet and activist focuses on oppression, race, and feminism to name a few.
If you want to learn more about great female leaders, The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson should be your next read. You’ll get inspired by the powerful sheroes in this feminist collection of short biographies. If you want to dive deeper into the poetics of Amanda Gorman’s resistance or Audre Lorde’s intersectionality, then The Strong Black Woman by Marita Golden is a must-read. Learn about the major health crisis among Black women generated from systemic racism while also understanding the importance of how to take care of yourself.
Q+A with Authors Marita Golden and Becca Anderson
MANGO: Who are some of the greatest female leaders in your eye, when it comes to activism and fighting for all women’s rights?
MARITA: Ida B. Wells, Shirley Chisolm and Audre Lorde. These women are among my heroes because they lived lives devoted to the fight for justice for women and anyone who was marginalized, erased, unseen or unheard. Ida B. Well nearly paid with her life as she fought to abolish lynching. Shirley Chisolm endured racism from her own party even after she began her term in Congress and Audre Lorde continued to fight for women’s rights even as she battled the cancer that would take her life. I stand on their shoulders.”
BECCA: I can immediately answer that question with the one woman who blows my mind with her courage and leadership: Fannie Lou Hamer. As a teen she was helping register black rural voters in Mississippi and she and her companions were pulled off a bus and beaten and jailed. I think of my high school self and what would I have done if that had happened to me. I think, like most people, I would have licked my wounds and retired from activism. However, Fannie did not. She was gravely wounded by the vicious beatings but recovered and redoubled her effort and dedicated her life to civil rights. The strength of her character, especially as a young person, is simply amazing to me. She along, with other civil rights warriors, went on to help change the world. Her example is one I wish everyone was taught in high school because when other people are thinking about sports and grades and even dating and crushes, she was already doing the work of her life and faced down cruelty and bigotry. As the old saying goes: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Fannie is living proof of that.
Curious for more? Click below to learn more about female leaders and meet the authors behind our Women’s History Month Book Series