A History of Black Queer Writers


                        The words "History, Black, Queer, Writers" in purple letters with a period behind each word. 


                                        picturs of countee cullen, Alaine locke, nella larsen langston hughes

“I think we have enough talent to start a renaissance,” exclaimed WEB Dubois in 1920. The names; Langston Hughes, Claude Mackay, Alain Locke, and Jessie Fauset should therefore be easily comparable to Ezra Pound, TS Eliot, F Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton in the Western artistic and Intellectual canon. They are predictably not, and it is not difficult to conclude that the reason is simply because they were black.—WEB Dubois

What is even less prominent, as to be almost invisible from the collective American histories, is that several eminent literary, musical and cultural artists identified in some way with one or more Queer identity. Only in 1993 was this history acknowledged in an essay, “The Black Man’s Burden”, by Henry Louis Gates jnr., editor-in-chief of The Root, who noted that the Harlem Renaissance, “was surely as gay as it was black”.---Keval Nathwani, Roar

Black Queer Writers and Poets of the Harlem Renaissance:

Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Claude Mckay, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Wallace Thurman, Alaine Locke, Nella Larsen, A'Lelia Walker

Books about Black Queer Writers of the Harlem Renaissance:

The New Negro: The Life of Alaine Locke, Zora and Langston: a Story of Friendship and Betrayal

                              black and white pictures of  Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry Alice Walker

As part of a greater ideological movement called Black Power, the African-American artists, poets, speakers, musicians and activists were joined in the wish to define the identity of Black people in America, and to resurge the Black Aesthetic, equally informed by the African tradition and the more recently established ideology influenced by the then-contemporary American life.---Petina Lee, Widewalls

During the sixties, we spent quite a lot of air time critiquing the “New Negro Renaissance” as bourgeois; however, we used some of its tactics to once again build a movement of new writing. As I say in my book, the Black Arts Movement was not the first time black people “reinvented themselves ‘new.'” So—we, i.e., lesbian-feminists—black lesbian feminists, black gay feminists, as well as the gay liberation movement used the “voice” strategy to inspire changes of attitude, to teach, and to critique—Cheryl Clarke, Poet

Black Queer Writers of the Cvil Rights and Black Arts Movement:

James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, June Jordan, Cheryl Clarke, Nikki Giovanni, Robert Hayden, Barbara Smith, Angela Davis, Rosa Guy Pauli Murray, Bayard Rustin

Books about Black Queer writers of the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movement:

Looking for Lorraine: the Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry,  Letter to Jimmy: on the Twentieth Anniversary of Your Death

                                   black and white pictures of e.Lynn Harris, Roxane Gaye, Jericho Brown, Jacqueline Woodson

Throughout the 1970s to the present, racism, classism, transphobia, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression have divided the gay community. Even in the reporting of the Pulse massacre in 2016, which was the largest massacre of LGBT people in history—the victims were people of color—few reporters and pundits paused to consider why the club hosted a Latin night in particular. Beyond an appreciation for Latino culture, many gay bars, clubs, and neighborhoods had been by both law and custom segregated, so special nights have been created to recognize diversity within the LGBT community.—Jim Downs, Humanities

Queerness helped me understand feminism better, and the importance of feminism. When you look at the history of feminism, queer women have been left out. It was the concerns of heterosexual white women that feminism was [interested in]. I was reading these writers who were outsiders for various reasons—not only from society as a whole, but also queerness—and they helped me begin to be okay with being on the outside looking in, and with life being messy. Sometimes it is just better on the outside. –Roxane Gay

Black Queer Writers 1980- Present: Octavia Butler, Jewelle Gomez, E. Lynn Harris, April Sinclair, Sapphire, Marlon Riggs, Rebecca Walker, Essex Hemphill, Cheryl DunyeJacqueline Woodson, Stacyann ChinRoxane Gay, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Rivers Solomon, Nisi Shawl, Krystal A. Smith, Michael Arceneaux, James Earl Hardy, Charlene Carruthers, Darnell Moore, Brandon Taylor, Mia McKenzie, Bryan Washington, Nalo Hopkinson, Saeed Jones, George Johnson, Akwaeke Emezi, Samuel L. Delany Dee ReesLena Waithe, Justin Simien, Angela Robinson , Juliane Huxtable

Black Queer Poets 1980-Present:

 Ai, Nikky Finney, Justin Phillip Reed, Jericho Brown, Danez Smith, Carl Phillips, Britteney Kapri, Rickey Laurentiis, Dawn Lundy Martin, Donika Kelly Toi Derricotte

Books about Black Queer Writers from 1980-Present:

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and so Much More ,  Brown, White, Black: an American Family at the Intersection of Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion

Blues Divas (from forthcoming doc 'Queer Harlem Renaissance: A Prospectus')

Posted by LindaC on October 10, 2020