Pat Parker, Black lesbian poet and activist well worth knowing

Autostraddle has a Megapost with over 100 Black LGBTQ women–some well known and others little known. The list is rich with beautiful photos. I am slowly working through the list sitting with one a day, doing Google searches to learn more, watch video to read and hear their words. Over the next few weeks I will share some with you. I start with a poet and activist, Pat Parker (1944-1989) Do check out the video below to hear her voice and powerful words as she speaks of “Perversion”

Everytime we put on the proper
clothes to go to a family
wedding and left our lovers
at home —
It was an act of perversion.

Pat Parker

Pat Parker

Pat Parker

Pat Parker

Parker’s activism included involvement with the Black Panther Movement, contributing to the Women’s Press Collective and serving as medical coordinator for the Oakland Feminist Women’s Health Center. Cheryl Clarke has said of Pat that she articulates “a black lesbian-feminist perspective of love between women and the circumstances that prevent our intimacy and liberation.” She toured with Varied Voices of Black Women, published multiple volumes of poetry, and, in 1980, founded the Black Woman’s Revolutionary Council.

    • From Pat Parker Wikipedia pagePat Parker and Audre Lorde first met in 1969 and continued to exchange letters and visits until Parker’s death in 1989. Their collaboration inspired many, including lesbian-feminist blues/R&B singer Nedra Johnson, whose song “Where Will You Be?” has become somewhat of a feminist anthem in the USA. 
    • From Qualia Folk page on Pat Parker:

Parker wrote poems that have been described as having “punch lines,” verses that deliver immediate emotional content. Sometimes the punch line is amusing, as the final verse in “A Small Contradiction,” a poem dealing with a theoretical critique of monogamy:

Me, i am
totally opposed to
monogamous relationships
in love

Where Will You Be? read by Pat Parker recorded at the Third World Conference sponsored Kick-Off Rally for the 14th October 1979 (first) National March On Washington for LGBTQ Rights. From Queer Radio. See text of poem over at J Spot.


This post has 2 Comments

  1. CJ Barker on March 8, 2015 at 1:53 am

    Have you gotten to “Womanslaughter” yet?

    I can still quote parts of it by heart….

  2. Peterson Toscano on March 8, 2015 at 11:41 am

    I read it but never found a video. Thanks!

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