When A Black Woman Speaks...

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

For my master's thesis, I wrote a paper entitled, When “A [Black] Woman Speaks,” It’s “blues,” “Ego Tripping,” and “Revolutionary Dreams:” The Impact of the Black Arts Movement on the Black Woman Poet and her Evolving Expressions of Black Feminist Consciousness.

The purpose of the paper was to analyze the role Black female poets played during the Black Arts Movement, (1965-1975) and in the years following its decline, (1975-1980) highlighting in particular, the works of Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez and Audre Lorde.

A deep-seated belief in the importance of our Black woman herstories prompted me to conduct the research necessary to write that paper.

Our art is paramount.

It informs who we are, and it expresses the stories of who we choose to be.

And it's so versatile.

We are so versatile!

Each one of us has a unique voice that embodies the complex layer of our life experiences.

We deserve to be heard.

To be seen.

To speak up for ourselves, in order to define ourselves.

Below, are the four poems that inspired my paper's title that speak to so many of our own personal testimonies, of love, freedom, desire, sadness, struggle, pain, joy, strength, and so much more.

These woman poets in particular, are my sheroes and politically artistic, foremothers.

I hope their words inspire you to speak loud and proud about your own story!

Yasssss Auntie Maxine!


"A Woman Speaks" by Audre Lorde

Moon marked and touched by sun   

my magic is unwritten but when the sea turns back it will leave my shape behind.    I seek no favor untouched by blood unrelenting as the curse of love    permanent as my errors or my pride I do not mix

love with pity nor hate with scorn and if you would know me look into the entrails of Uranus    where the restless oceans pound. I do not dwell within my birth nor my divinities    who am ageless and half-grown    and still seeking my sisters witches in Dahomey wear me inside their coiled cloths    as our mother did mourning. I have been woman for a long time beware my smile I am treacherous with old magic    and the noon's new fury with all your wide futures    promised I am woman and not white.