As part of ongoing Black History Month celebrations, Google has replaced their homepage logo with an animated slideshow honoring Audre Lorde for her work as a poet, feminist, and civil rights activist.

Audre Lorde was born February 18, 1934 — today would have been her 87th birthday — in Harlem, New York City. From a young age, Lorde found difficulty in communicating, due in part to a troublesome childhood. Instead, she would recite poetry to share her feelings, eventually beginning to write her own poems starting at age 12. By 15, Lorde had her first published work, with the love poem Spring appearing in Seventeen magazine.

One interesting aspect of Lorde’s poetic view on life is that she was actually born as “Audrey Lorde.” As explained in her “biomythography,” she dropped the “y” from her first name as she felt that “Audre Lorde” had an artistic symmetry, given both names end with “e.”

Describing herself as a “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde rose to prominence in the civil rights movement and LGBTQ community for her works that demanded justice for the oppressed worldwide. Her first collection released by a major publisher, Coal, expertly tackles the unique beauties and difficulties of each aspect of her identity, including the challenges of being a lesbian in a heterosexual marriage.

The quotes found in today’s Google Doodle slideshow all come from a speech titled “Learning from the 60s” that Audre Lorde gave at Harvard University in 1982. The Doodle was contributed by guest artist Monica Ahanonu, who shared insights into how the actual artwork was created and what sorts of thoughts and emotions she hoped to evoke in a special Behind the Doodle video. The video also features powerful footage of Audre Lorde at work, whether speaking publicly, driving a dialogue, or committing her words to paper with a typewriter.

Meanwhile, over on the Google Doodle blog, Lorde’s children, Elizabeth and Jonathan, shared their memories about their mother and how she may have responded to being the subject of a Doodle.

Our mother Audre Lorde died in 1992 after a fourteen-year battle with metastatic breast cancer, but she would have loved the Google Doodle. She loved learning new things–and she would have been very honored to be featured. As mentioned above, she received her Master’s degree in Library Science because she was very big on cataloging information in an orderly fashion so it could be located, even if centuries separated the knowledge from its seeker. How she would have enjoyed sitting down to a keyboard and having worlds of knowledge open at the typing of a few key words or phrases!

— Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins and Jonathan Rollins

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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