Their Publishing Press Printed Black Women Writers When No One Else Would

person reading open book on lap
Via Nappy
L. Graciella Maiolatesi
December 22, 2021

Before 1980, too many white publishing companies wouldn’t publish Black women authors. But writers and good friends Barbara Smith and Audre Lorde weren’t having it! 

“We really need to do something about publishing,” they discussed on a casual phone call. But that call would change history for millions of women...

In 1981, the “Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press” was launched! Organized by Smith and Lorde, the collective published work the whitewashed feminist movement didn’t want spread.

As the press took off, it was met with backlash – as expected. White women criticized it for being discriminatory against them! 

“White women,” Smith later wrote, “still don’t understand our need to at least have a press of our own.”

Lasting until Lorde’s passing in 1992, Kitchen Table published work by hundreds of influential women of color the white-dominated industry would have ignored. 

Today, its legacy lives on in the “Kitchen Table Literary Arts Center,” which aims to continue supporting women of color writers.

When whiteness tried silencing their voices, Smith and Lorde took a stand. Instead of fighting for a seat at the table, they built their own! 

We’re all going to face setbacks due to white supremacy. But if we lean on community and create our own opportunities, we have the potential to create even greater excellence outside of their barriers!

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