LSA’s Anti-Racist Book Club will continue this summer with a focus on the work of Audre Lorde (1934-1992), a self-described Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, and poet. First organized by the LSA Anti-Racism planning committee, this club began in the Summer of 2021. Starting on June 27th, this summer’s series will be hosted by Elizabeth James, DAAS Program Associate, Sue Douglas, History Student Services Manager, and Rebecca Christensen, Sociology Director of Project Community and Lecturer.

The books in the lineup include “Sister Outsider,” “A Burst of Light: Essays”, and “The Black Unicorn.” “Sister Outsider” will be discussed first, followed by the other books, as determined by attendees to support the best conversation and connection. Conversations will last one hour, with an optional extra half hour for those who want to delve deeper. The titles may be found online, in local bookstores such as Black Stone and Literati, and in the library collections: Mirlyn, Ann Arbor District Library, Ypsilanti Public Library.

When asked about the value of Lorde’s work for the book club and readers today, James said, "Audre Lorde is known for confronting racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism through her essays, poetry, and autobiographical writings. As one of the coordinators, we chose Lorde for her intersectional work and how she demonstrates the complexity of racism in American culture. She is known as the 'warrior poet' and her writing reaches across time to challenge you to take action to free your mind. One of my favorite lines of hers is, 'It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.'"

Audre Lorde’s accomplishments included a number of honors and awards. Her first poem was published in Seventeen magazine when she was still in high school. During this time, she also worked as an editor of the literary magazine. Lorde first studied at the National University of Mexico in Cuernavaca, completed her bachelor’s degree at Hunter College, and graduated with a Master’s Degree in library science from Columbia University. Her book, The Cancer Journals, won the American Library Association’s Gay Caucus Book of the Year Award for 1981. In 1989, Lorde spoke at the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. She was also a founding member of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press and Sisterhood in Support of Sisters in South Africa. The University of Michigan has a multicultural, minority lounge named in honor of Audre Lorde, located in Helen Newberry.

Meetings for this summer’s book club are open to members of the faculty and staff from DAAS, History, and Sociology, along with some of last year’s members. Meeting dates are:

  • Monday, June 27 from 3:30-5:00 PM
  • Monday, July 18 from 3:30-5:00 PM
  • Monday, August 22 from 3:30-5:00 PM

All meetings will be held via Zoom. If you are interested in attending, please register using this link:

A full list of Audre Lorde’s work from The Audre Lorde Project can be found here. Read more about Audre Lorde’s work and life from the Poetry Foundation here