Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press

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Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press was an activist feminist press started in 1980 by author Barbara Smith at the suggestion of her friend, poet Audre Lorde.

Beginnings[edit]

In her essay A Press of our Own: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, founder Barbara Smith describes the beginnings of the press this way: "In October 1980, Audre Lorde said to me during a phone conversation, "We really need to do something about publishing."[1] In an interview with Joseph F. Beam in Blacklight Magazine, Lorde spoke to the need to "develop those structures (like Kitchen Table) that will present and circulate our culture."[2] As a result of Lorde's suggestion, Smith assembled a group for a meeting on Halloween weekend in Boston, the home city of the press in its first year.[1][3] In 1981, Smith relocated the press to New York.[3] Smith, Lorde, Cherríe Moraga, Hattie Gossett, Helena Byard, Susan Yung, Ana Oliveira, Rosie Alvarez, Alma Gomez and Leota Lone Dog are all considered co-founders of the organization.[3][4]

Goals[edit]

The group decided that they would publish books aimed at promoting the writing of women of color of all racial/ethnic heritages, national origins, ages, socioeconomic classes, and sexual orientations. The project resulted in the world's first publishing company run autonomously by women of color. Smith describes this as "one of (the group's) bravest steps", as "most people of color have chosen to work in their separate groups when they do media or other projects."[1]

In addition to publishing books, Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press was an activist and advocacy organization devoted to the liberation struggles of all oppressed people.

Titles[edit]

Some of Kitchen Table's most popular titles include: This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color and Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology. Audre Lorde's I Am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing Across Sexualities was also published by the press in 1986.

Impact[edit]

Jaime M. Grant writes in her 1996 essay "Building Community-Based Coalitions from Academe: The Union Institute and the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press Transition Coalition" that works published by the press have "literally transformed the conversation on racism, sexism, and homophobia in the classroom in the last decade."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Smith, Barbara. A Press of our Own: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, Frontiers vol. X, no. 3, 1989, p. 11.
  2. ^ Lorde, Audre, in conversation with Joseph F. Beam, Blacklight Magazine, March 1984.
  3. ^ a b c De Veaux, Alexis. Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde ,W. W. Norton & Company, 2004. ISBN 0-393-01954-4, p. 276.
  4. ^ Short, Kayann. Coming to the Table: The Differential Politics of "This Bridge Called my Back", Genders 19 (1994), pp. 4-8.
  5. ^ Grant, Jaime M., "Building Community-Based Coalitions from Academe: The Union Institute and the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press Transition Coalition", Signs, Vol. 21, No. 4, Feminist Theory and Practice (Summer 1996), p. 1024.