Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Inspirational quotes By Audre Lorde on love, truth, racism, society and other things.

100 Inspirational Quotes By Audre Lorde, The Author Of Zami

Quick Facts

Famous As: Writer

Born On: February 18, 1934

Died On: November 17, 1992

Born In: Harlem, New York City

Founder / Co Founder: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press

Died At Age: 58

Audrey Geraldine Lorde, better known as simply Audre Lorde, was an American civil rights activist, author and feminist of Caribbean descent, who is best known for waging her activism through her poems. She was born in New York in 1934 and following her school education, she went to study at the University of New Mexico, where she developed her ideas as an activist and feminist, who also happened to be lesbian. She was not only a poet but also an essayist and shared her thoughts on the different aspects of social activism in journals which were radical enough to publish them. Eventually she went on to attend Columbia University and earned a post graduate degree in Library Science. She continued to work as a librarian at several institutions but at the same time, she continued to be a prominent civil rights activist and poet. Lorde was an extremely important social activist of her time and continued to be so for the majority of her life. The combination of a political activist and firebrand poet, with great oratory skills is a rare combination and in the process a great many Lorde quotes finds great resonance even today. Here are the selected ones.

Your silence will not protect you.

Audre Lorde

If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.

Audre Lorde

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

Audre Lorde

I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.

Audre Lorde

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.

Audre Lorde

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

Audre Lorde

And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed but when we are silent we are still afraid So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive

Audre Lorde

I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.

Audre Lorde

The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house

Audre Lorde

Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.

Audre Lorde

Revolution is not a one time event.

Audre Lorde

Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it.

Audre Lorde

There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.

Audre Lorde

But the true feminist deals out of a lesbian consciousness whether or not she ever sleeps with women.

Audre Lorde

I am my best work - a series of road maps, reports, recipes, doodles, and prayers from the front lines.

Audre Lorde

I find I am constantly being encouraged to pluck out some one aspect of myself and present this as the meaningful whole, eclipsing or denying the other parts of self.

Audre Lorde

Unless one lives and loves in the trenches, it is difficult to remember that the war against dehumanization is ceaseless.

Audre Lorde

Without community, there is no liberation.

Audre Lorde

I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.

Audre Lorde

Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution, but more usually we must do battle where we are standing.

Audre Lorde

We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings.

Audre Lorde

The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.

Audre Lorde

The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.

Audre Lorde

Some women wait for themselves around the next corner and call the empty spot peace but the opposite of living is only not living and the stars do not care.

Audre Lorde

Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought.

Audre Lorde

...and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.

Audre Lorde

I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I'll be sending messages on a Ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side

Audre Lorde

Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people.

Audre Lorde

...oppression is as American as apple pie...

Audre Lorde

I soon discovered that if you keep your mouth shut, people are apt to believe you know everything, and they begin to feel freer and freer to tell you anything, anxious to show that they know something, too.

Audre Lorde

We must recognize and nurture the creative parts of each other without always understanding what will be created.

Audre Lorde

What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence.

Audre Lorde

For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.

Audre Lorde

We tend to think of the erotic as an easy, tantalizing sexual arousal. I speak of the erotic as the deepest life force, a force which moves us toward living in a fundamental way.

Audre Lorde

I learned so much from listening to people. And all I knew was, the only thing I had was honesty and openness.

Audre Lorde

Because the machine will try to grind you into dust anyway, whether or not we speak.

Audre Lorde

If they cannot love and resist at the same time, they probably will not survive.

Audre Lorde

The white fathers told us: I think, therefore I am. The black goddess within each of us - the poet - whispers in our dreams: I feel, therefore I can be free.

Audre Lorde

Without community, there is no liberation...but community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.

Audre Lorde

We must be the change we wish to see in the world.

Audre Lorde

The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives.

Audre Lorde

We recognize that all knowledge is mediated through the body and that feeling is a profound source of information about our lives

Audre Lorde

How much of this truth can I bear to see and still live unblinded? How much of this pain can I use?

Audre Lorde

To that piece in each of us that refuses to be silent.

Audre Lorde

You cannot, you cannot use someone else's fire. You can only use your own. And in order to do that, you must first be willing to believe that you have it.

Audre Lorde

Learning not to crumple before these uncertainties fuels my resolve to print myself upon the texture of each day fully rather than forever.

Audre Lorde

Wherever the bird with no feet flew, she found trees with no limbs.

Audre Lorde

When we define ourselves, when I define myself, the place in which I am like you and the place in which I am not like you, I'm not excluding you from the joining - I'm broadening the joining.

Audre Lorde

There is a timbre of voice that comes from not being heard and knowing / you are not being heard / noticed only by others / not heard for the same reason.

Audre Lorde

It does not pay to cherish symbols when the substance lies so close at hand.

Audre Lorde

Oppressors always expect the oppressed to extend to them the understanding so lacking in themselves.

Audre Lorde

What you hear in my voice is fury, not suffering. Anger, not moral authority

Audre Lorde

We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit.

Audre Lorde

I cannot shut you out the way I shut the others out, so maybe I can destroy you. Must destroy you?

Audre Lorde

Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.

Audre Lorde

The more I use my strength in the service of my vision the less I am afraid...

Audre Lorde

There are many kinds of open. . . Love is a word, another kind of open. . . Take my word for jewel in your open light.

Audre Lorde

We must constantly encourage ourselves and each other to attempt the heretical actions that our dreams imply and so many of our old ideas disparage.

Audre Lorde

How hard it is to sleep in the middle of life.

Audre Lorde

Out of my flesh that hungers and my mouth that knows comes the shape I am seeking for reason.

Audre Lorde

And where the words of women are crying to be heard, we must each of us recognize our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives.

Audre Lorde

The Seventh Sense" Women who build nations learn to love men who build nations learn to love children building sand castles by the rising sea

Audre Lorde

What better way is there to police the streets of a minority community than to turn one generation against the other?

Audre Lorde

Did you ever read my words, or did you merely finger through them for quotations which you thought might valuably support an already conceived idea concerning some old and distorted connection between us?

Audre Lorde

Our visions begin with our desires.

Audre Lorde

You can not take down the master's house with the master's tools Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

See me now your severed daughter laughing our name into echo all the world shall remember

Audre Lorde

The cockroach who is dying and the woman who is blind agree not to notice each other’s shame.

Audre Lorde

The oppression of women knows no ethnic nor racial boundaries, true, but that does not mean it is identical within those boundaries.

Audre Lorde

How are you practicing what you preach—whatever you preach, and who is exactly listening?

Audre Lorde

It is not the destiny of Black america to repeat white america's mistakes. But we will, if we mistake the trappings of success in a sick society for the signs of a meaningful life.

Audre Lorde

Dark-bright fire lit eyes

Audre Lorde

I wasn't cute or passive enough to be "femme," and I wasn't mean or tough enough to be "butch." I was given a wide berth. Non-conventional people can be dangerous, even in the gay community.

Audre Lorde

A choice of pains. That's what living was all about.

Audre Lorde

For Black women as well as Black men, it is axiomatic that if we do not define ourselves for ourselves, we will be defined by others — for their use and to our detriment.

Audre Lorde

Love is a word, another kind of open. As the diamond comes into a knot of flame I am Black because I come from the earth's inside take my word for jewel in the open light.

Audre Lorde

Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.

Audre Lorde

What happens when you narrow your definition to what is convenient, or what is fashionable, or what is expected, is dishonesty by silence.

Audre Lorde

We are all more blind to what we have than to what we have not.

Audre Lorde

There is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we do not lead single issue lives.

Audre Lorde

I remember how being young and Black and gay and lonely felt. A lot of it was fine, feeling I had the truth and the light and the key, but a lot of it was purely hell.

Audre Lorde

Black women who define ourselves and our goals beyond the sphere of a sexual relationship can bring to any endeavor the realized focus of completed and therefore empowered individuals.

Audre Lorde

For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.

Audre Lorde

If I do not bring all of who I am to whatever I do, then I bring nothing, or nothing of lasting worth, for I have withheld my essence.

Audre Lorde

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.

Audre Lorde

Within each one of us there is some piece of humanness that knows we are not being served by the machine which orchestrates crisis after crisis and is grinding all our futures into dust.

Audre Lorde

The fear that we cannot grow beyond whatever distortions we may find within ourselves keeps us docile and loyal and obedient, externally defined, and leads us to accept many facets of our oppression as women.

Audre Lorde

There is an important difference between openness and na´vetÚ. Not everyone has good intentions nor means me well. I remind myself I do not need to change these people, only recognize who they are.

Audre Lorde

She taught me that women who want without needing are expensive and sometimes wasteful, but women who need without wanting are dangerous – they suck you in and pretend not to notice.

Audre Lorde

I forgot what we were celebrating. Because we were always celebrating something, a new job, a new poem, a new love, a new dream.

Audre Lorde

Too often, we pour the energy needed for recognizing and exploring difference into pretending those differences are insurmountable barriers, or that they do not exist at all.

Audre Lorde

The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.

Audre Lorde

Some of our finest writers, organizers, artists, and scholars in the 60s as well as today, have been lesbian and gay, and history will bear me out.

Audre Lorde

I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.

Audre Lorde

Nobody was dreaming about me. Nobody was even studying me except as something to wipe out.

Audre Lorde

As a Black lesbian mother in an interracial marriage, there was usually some part of me guaranteed to offend everybody's comfortable prejudices of who I should be.

Audre Lorde

Hatred is the fury of those who do not share our goals, and its object is death and destruction. Anger is a grief of distortions between peers, and its object is change.

Audre Lorde

Raising Black children — female and male — in the mouth of a racist, sexist, suicidal dragon is perilous and chancy. If they cannot love and resist at the same time, they will probably not survive.

Audre Lorde

In the forefront of our move toward change, there is only poetry to hint at possibility made real.

Audre Lorde

Always in the middle of our bloodiest battles you lay down your arms like flowering mines to conqueror me home," -Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde