Today In Black History: February 18, 1934 & February 18, 1931 - Authors Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison are born.
Audre Lorde was pivotal in the development of the theory of intersectionality of oppression. She criticized the feminist movements of the 1960s for only focusing on the experiences of middle-class white women and presenting these experiences as universal.
She is often quoted from her essay “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” found in her collection Sister Outsider.
"What does it mean when the tools of a racist patriarchy are used to examine the fruits of that same patriarchy? It means that only the most narrow perimeters of change are possible and allowable."
A Brooklyn, New York-based organization for queer people of color, the Audre Lorde Project, was founded in 1994.
Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize-winning author of now-classic books such as The Bluest Eye (1970), about a young Black girl named Pecola after the Great Depression who develops an inferiority complex because of her eyes and skin, and Beloved (1987), inspired by the story of a slave, Margaret Garner, who temporarily escaped slavery in 1856 by fleeing across state borders. Beloved won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction as well as the American Book Award.
In 1993, Morrison won the Nobel Prize in Literature: Toni Morrison, “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality,” the citation reads. She is presently the last American to have been awarded this honor.
In May of 2012, Morrison was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
(And seriously, why isn’t this a national holiday?)