Feminist Activist to Give Book Reading at Ithaca College

By Sabina Leybold, September 23, 2016

Feminist Activist to Give Book Reading

Legendary feminist, activist and author Gloria Joseph will visit Ithaca College on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. in Textor 101 to discuss and read from her new book, “The Wind is Spirit: The Life, Love, and Legacy of Audre Lorde.” Joseph was Lorde’s long-time partner, and her book is a “bio-anthology” that compiles poems, essays, and reflections about Lorde’s life and work from about 50 different people.

“Some of them are well-known names — Angela Davis, Sonia Sanchez, Jewelle Gomez, Assata Shakur, Cherrie Moraga, Michelle Cliff — and they were all people who knew Audre,” said Carla Golden, women’s and gender studies coordinator and professor in the Department of Psychology. Other contributors include scholars who have studied Lorde’s work, as well as Lorde’s daughter and one of her sisters.

Golden said that college students are increasingly interested in black feminism and the history of the feminist movement, and that Joseph’s visit will feed that hunger.

“The rise of social media gives space to such diverse voices,” she said. “Students come in and already know about certain theorists and writings because they read about it on Tumblr!”

Golden hopes students will get a rich picture of Lorde as a person and learn about how vibrant and multiracial the feminist movement was in the ’70s and ’80s.

“She was a person who was about breaking silences,” Golden said.

Joseph’s significance goes beyond her connection to Lorde. She taught Africana studies at Hampshire College, founded the philanthropic organization, Sisterhood in Support of Sisters in South Africa, authored three books and ran a women’s writing conference in St. Croix. Golden said Joseph’s activism has been crucial to the black feminist movement, but she doesn’t have as much name recognition as her partner.

“I want students to realize that in any movement or era, there are people who are out front — they’re writing collections of essays like [Lorde’s] ‘Sister Outsider’ that are read in college classrooms 30 years later,” Golden said. “But there are also people who are doing crucial work behind the scenes.”

After reading and discussing “The Wind is Spirit,” Joseph will be selling and signing copies of the book.