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Special Features Index  

 
Spotlight African-American Literature: Lesbian
 
  Most African-American Lesbian Literature is as concerned with racism as it is with sexuality, causing many writers to construct Afrocentric sexual identities that affirm the power of black women.  
 
 
  Michelle Cliff (b. 1946) is a Jamaican-born writer who explores issues of race, class, and sexuality in her prose and poetry.  
 
 
  Jewelle GomezJewelle Gomez (b. 1948) seeks to merge her black, feminist, and lesbian identities into an indivisible whole in her poetry, fiction, and essays.  
 
 
  Lorraine HansberryLorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) was a playwright and political activist whose fight for social justice included support for the emerging lesbian liberation movement.   
 
 
  Alice Dunbar NelsonThe Harlem Renaissance, an African-American literary movement of the 1920s and 1930s, included several important lesbian writers.  
 
 
  June Jordan (1939-2002) called for the rejection of stereotypical views of bisexuality in her poetry and essays. Jordan's work exhibits an aggressive optimism and stresses the importance of individual and collective self-determination.  
 
 
  Nella LarsenNella Larsen (1891-1964) was a bisexual African-American novelist who was covert in her treatment of lesbianism because of the social conventions of her time.  
 
 
  Audre LordeAudre Lorde (1934-1992), an activist and  writer who self-identified as a black feminist lesbian poet warrior, started writing at 12 and never stopped.  
 
 
  SapphireSapphire (Ramona Lofton, b. 1950) is a bisexual African-American novelist, poet, and performance artist who came to public attention with works that focus on the harrowing realities of inner city existence. The film Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire (2009) by Lee Daniels won accolades from the NAACP, several Golden Globe awards, and scored two Oscars.  
 
 
  Ann Allen Shockley (b. 1927), a popular short story writer and novelist, as well as a librarian, critic, and editor, treats both interracial and lesbian experiences in her work.  
 
 
  A'Lelia Walker (1885-1931), the "joy goddess" of the Harlem Renaissance, was a hostess who especially valued the company of black glbtq artists and writers, which gave her gatherings a distinctly gay ambience.  
 
 
  Alice WalkerAlice Walker (b. 1944) is a writer who explores the damage done to the individual self by racism and sexism. She views lesbianism as natural and freeing, an aid to self-knowledge and self-love.  
 
 
  Jacqueline WoodsonJacqueline Woodson (b. 1963) is a prize-winning author of books for young adults who gives voice to a complex range of both straight and gay characters. Through her elegantly simple writing, Woodson introduces her readers to concepts of racism, miscegenation, poverty, and mental illness, as well as gay and lesbian issues.  
 
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