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spelman college announces queer studies chair in audre lorde’s honor

November 4, 2019
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Way to go, Spelman College!

We mean that. And this time its because the country’s oldest historically Black college for women has done a thing by creating a queer studies chair within the college — the first chair of its kind at an HBCU, period. Dedicated in name to the brilliant and timeless Audre Lorde, an intersectional feminist writer and lesbian who often appeared on the Spelman campus, which Also houses her papers at the Spelman Archives. Lorde’s work in the way of Black womanhood and, particularly, Black queer womanhood, continues to be relevant in our discussions of both to this day.

In the announcement of this position, Spelman has announced a $2 million fundraising campaign, the amount of which will be matched by a gift by Jon Stryker, a gay billionaire and philanthropists, the president of Arcus Foundation, and previous provider of the 2009 grant which provided for the display of the Audre Lorde Papers in the first place.

“Spelman College has long been at the forefront of LGBTQ inclusion and education among HBCUs,” Stryker said in a statement. “By supporting this chair, the goal is to engage and empower the next generation of LGBTQ advocates to create a better world.”
Additionally, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman said that the queer studies chair would be attached to the college’s Women’s Research and Resource Center, contributing “educational inclusiveness.”

“Spelman’s Women’s Center has been and continues to be a pioneering leader in advancing scholarship in the area of Queer Studies,” Campbell said in a statement. “Jon Stryker’s generous contribution to further his commitment to LGBTQ inclusion and education will allow Spelman students to deepen their understanding around the study of sexuality and gender. We are honored to name the chair after the literary luminary and fierce activist, Audre Lorde.”