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Lee, Muna (29 January 1895–03 April 1965), poet, feminist, and specialist in international affairs, was born in Raymond, Mississippi, the daughter of Benjamin Floyd Lee, a druggist, and Mary McWilliams. The eldest of nine children, she spent her childhood both in Raymond and in Hugo, Oklahoma, where her family moved in 1902. In 1909 she returned to Mississippi to attend her mother’s alma mater, Blue Mountain College, where she was encouraged to write poetry. She spent a year there and a year at the University of Oklahoma; then she enrolled in the University of Mississippi, earning her B.S. in 1913....

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Lorde, Audre (18 February 1934–17 November 1992), poet, essayist, and feminist, was born Audrey Geraldine Lorde in New York City, the daughter of Frederic Byron Lorde, a laborer, and Linda Gertrude Belmar Lorde, both West Indian immigrants from Grenada. As a child, when someone asked about her thoughts, she replied by quoting poetry, and at the age of twelve she wrote poems. Lorde attended Hunter High School, where she met other girls who wrote poetry. She edited the school's literary magazine, but when an English teacher rejected a love poem Lorde had written about a boy, she sent it to ...

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Paley, Grace (11 Dec. 1922–22 Aug. 2007), short story writer, poet, antiwar activist, and feminist, was born Grace Goodside in the Bronx, the third child of Isaac Goodside and Manya Ridnyik. Grace was the baby of the family; her sister Jeanne and brother Victor were respectively fourteen and sixteen years older. Her parents, both Socialist activists, anglicized their name from Gutseit when they emigrated from the Ukraine in ...

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Parker, Pat (20 Jan. 1944–17 June 1989), poet, performer, health care administrator, and lesbian-feminist activist, was born Patricia Ann Cooks in Houston, Texas, the youngest of five children of Marie Louise Anderson Cooks, a domestic worker, and Ernest Nathaniel Cooks, who worked as a roofer in the summer and retreaded tires in the winter. Later the family moved outside of Houston to a small, tin-roofed house with an outhouse. Pat recalled writing at an early age, particularly composing greeting cards for festive occasions. In high school, she joined the staff of the local black newspaper and became the first woman junior editor of her school newspaper. She also served as editor her senior year and graduated from Houston’s Evan E. Worthing Senior High School in ...