It’s been pointed out that there shouldn’t need to be a Black History Month because Black History is American history, and for a while it seemed as if we were making progress towards that realization. However, lately it has become obvious the white supremacy narrative in America feels mortally threatened by truth and historical facts. So much so, it is going to great lengths to suppress them in education by shielding students from learning about all the diverse people who built America.
That story was once proudly celebrated as “The Great Melting Pot” and uniquely American. Today, as more historical truths about the treads of our nation’s story are brought to light and more writers from every background and culture find their voice, the effort to keep them from the minds of the next generation is like nothing we’ve ever witnessed, at least not in America. Nowhere is this more evident than in the current tidal wave of book banning in schools and libraries across the country.
Simply put, it is racial motivated censorship.
For that reason theOUTfront can think of no better way to celebrate Black History Month 2022 than by highlighting Black writers. As we do every year during Pride Month, we will be celebrating Black writers in their own inspiring words all month with a daily Twitter series @TheOUTFront . This one seems especially appropriate to begin with.
Historically, Black LGBTQ Americans have borne the “stigma” of two marginalized communities. They were “outcasts” in both; but their courage, persistence, and talents allowed them to succeed in times of discrimination, segregation, and homophobia. But under immense pressure in the darkness, we know diamonds are created which when brought into the light sparkle with brilliance.
Black LGBTQ writers have created literary works which fueled a renaissance, a civil rights movement, a feminist movement, and continue to speak out for social justice today. Here are just a few we celebrate today and every day for their contributions to our American story. Click on their names for a complete biography.
Alaine Locke (1886-1954)
“Dean of the Harlem Renaissance”
“Art must discover and reveal the beauty which prejudice and caricature have overlaid.”
Langstone Hughes (1902-1967)
Poet, novelist, playwright, librettist, essayist, and translator
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”
Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965)
First African American woman to be produced on Broadway
“The problem in the world is the oppression of man by man; it is this which threatens existence.”
James Baldwin (1924-1987)
“In numerous essays, novels, plays and public speeches, the eloquent voice of James Baldwin spoke of the pain and struggle of black Americans and the saving power of brotherhood.”
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
Audre Lorde (1934-1992)
Black-Lesbian Feminist Mother Lover Poet
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
Alice Walker (1944- )
The first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
Billy Porter (1969 – )
First Black Actor to win and Emmy Award and force of nature
“We need to understand that whatever we do, we’re all human beings first.”