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Audre Lorde Quotes Celebrating Feminism and Activism

These Audre Lorde quotes will help make all our lives better.

Audre Lorde was an American poet, writer, feminist, librarian, and civil rights activist.

Her work was influential to the anti-war, civil rights and women’s movement during the later half of the 20th century

Born on February 18, 1934, in New York City, Lorde developed a love of writing from an early age and was first published in “Seventeen” magazine while in high school.

Lorde’s poetry collections include “From a Land Where Other People Live” (1973) and “The Black Unicorn” (1978).

She used her platform as a writer and poet to spread ideas about intersecting oppressions and experiences, especially those faced by women of color.

As an activist, Lorde participated in both the civil rights and feminist movements.

She devoted her life to advocating for equality and used her voice and art to fight for what she believed in.

Audre Lorde died on November 17, 1992, on the island of St. Croix, leaving behind a legacy as a great warrior poet whose indefatigable spirit fought on many fronts.

In her respect, below is our collection of inspirational, wise, and powerful Audre Lorde quotes, collected from a variety of sources.

If you love this quote collection, read out our most popular quote article about short inspirational quotes for daily motivation. 

If you need more inspirational quotes, check out our motivational quotes category page.

Audre Lorde quotes celebrating feminism and activism

1. “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

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2. “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”  – Audre Lorde

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3. “My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences.”  – Audre Lorde

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4. “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”  – Audre Lorde

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5. “Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now.” – Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde quotes celebrating feminism and activism

6. “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

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7. “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”  – Audre Lorde

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8. “In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.” – Audre Lorde

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9. “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

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10. “The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.” – Audre Lorde

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Audre Lorde quotes on finding your voice

11. “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

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12. “…and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.”  – Audre Lorde

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13. “Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.”  – Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde quotes on finding your voice

14. “I learned so much from listening to people. And all I knew was, the only thing I had was honesty and openness.”  – Audre Lorde

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15. “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

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16. “We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit.”  – Audre Lorde

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17. “You do not have to be me in order for us to fight alongside each other. I do not have to be you to recognize that our wars are the same. What we must do is commit ourselves to some future that can include each other and to work toward that future with the particular strengths of our individual identities. And in order for us to do this, we must allow each other our differences at the same time as we recognize our sameness.” –  Audre Lorde

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18. “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

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19. “Sometimes we drug ourselves with dreams of new ideas The head will save us. The brain alone will set us free. But there are no new ideas waiting in the wings to save us as women, as human. There are only old and forgotten ones, new combinations, extrapolations and recognitions from within ourselves–along with the renewed courage to try them out.”  – Audre Lorde

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20. “I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”   – Audre Lorde

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Audre Lorde quotes on courage, strength and perseverance

21. “When times are hard, do something. If it works, do it some more. If it does not work, do something else. But keep going.”  – Audre Lorde

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22. “And I find I must remember that the pain is not its own reason for being. It is a part of living. And the only kind of pain that is intolerable is pain that is wasteful, pain from which we do not learn. And I think that we must learn to distinguish between the two.”  – Audre Lorde

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23. “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

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24. “If what we need to dream, to move our spirits most deeply and directly toward and through promise, is discounted as a luxury, then we give up the core — the fountain — of our power, our womanness; we give up the future of our worlds.”  – Audre Lorde

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25. “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” –  Audre Lorde

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Which of these Audre Lorde quotes was your favorite?

Audre Lorde’s work gave voice to issues of race, gender and sexuality.

Although she is long gone, her work continues to shape contemporary feminist and womanist thought.

There are many reasons to love Audre Lorde and keep her legacy alive.

Despite not having an easy childhood, she accomplished much in her life.

Hopefully, the above quotes will give you the courage to fight for your dreams.

Which of these Audre Lorde quotes resonated with you best?

Do you have any other inspirational quotes to add?

Tell us in the comment section below.

Norbert Juma, Lead Editor
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1 Comment
  1. Amy

    July 23, 2019 at 12:20 AM

    I learned of her work in college and was searching for this quote. Thank you for the great collection of quotes.

    The art of investigating the truth of opinions. How we can meet each other at the edge of ourselves. How my feelings lead me to the truest place I can know. Today because I have been blessed to find my spiritual path I love really being able to listen to people with different experiences from mine and to be more aware of how we are so much alike in our humanness and yet so different it takes very careful listening to try and understand each other.

    I’m so grateful for her work.

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