Conditions (magazine)

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The Black Women's Issue

Conditions (full title: Conditions: a feminist magazine of writing by women with a particular emphasis on writing by lesbians) was a lesbian feminist literary magazine that came out biannually from 1976-1980 and annually from 1980 until 1990, and it included poetry, prose, essays, book reviews, and interviews.[1] It was founded in Brooklyn, New York, by Elly Bulkin, Jan Clausen, Irena Klepfisz and Rima Shore.[2]

Publishing Collective[edit]

Conditions was a magazine that emphasized the lives and writings of lesbians, and, throughout its history, maintained an all-lesbian collective.[3] This collective expressed a "long standing commitment to diversity; of writing style and content and of background of contributors", within the lesbian and feminist communities.[4] Conditions was especially dedicated to publishing the work of lesbians, in particular working class lesbians and lesbians of color.[3][4] While the founders were all white, Conditions was committed to promoting multiracial, multicultural, and multiethnic voices from its inception. By the early 1980s, it had a diverse group of editors, especially under the leadership of Cheryl L. Clarke.[1]

The Black Women's Issue[edit]

The journal's fifth issue, published in November 1979, was edited by Barbara Smith and Lorraine Bethel. Conditions 5 was "the first widely distributed collection of Black feminist writing in the U.S.",[2] and was later to be the basis for the anthology Home Girls (1983), one of the first books released by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. [5] Conditions 5: The Black Women's Issue was hugely popular, and set a record in feminist publishing by selling 3000 copies in the first three weeks it was available.[6]

Publication ceases[edit]

Conditions ceased publication in 1990.[3][7] It ended because the existing collective members were focusing on other projects and they were unable to find new members.[1]



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See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Enszer, Julie R. (2015). ""Fighting to create and maintain our own Black women's culture": Conditions Magazine, 1977–1990". American Periodicals: A Journal of History & Criticism. 25 (2): 160–176. Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Smith, Barbara. The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom, Rutgers University Press 1998, ISBN 0-8135-2761-9, p. ix.
  3. ^ a b c Busia, Abena P. A. Theorizing Black Feminisms: The Visionary Pragmatism of Black Women, Routledge, 1993, ISBN 0-415-07336-7, p. 225n.
  4. ^ a b Allison, Clarke, Schaubman editorial. Conditions 11/12, p. 3.
  5. ^ Munro, C. Lynn (1984). "Review: Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology. By Barbara Smith". Black American Literature Forum. 8 (4): 175. Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  6. ^ Smith, Barbara. Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, 1983, p. 1.
  7. ^ Armstrong, David. Trumpet to Arms: Alternative Media in America, South End Press, 1985 ISBN 0-89608-193-1, p. 240.
  8. ^ "" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-12-04.