Minnie Bruce Pratt

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Minnie Bruce Pratt
Born(1946-09-12)September 12, 1946
Selma, Alabama, U.S.
DiedJuly 2, 2023(2023-07-02) (aged 76)
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
OccupationProfessor of Writing and Women's Studies
Alma materUniversity of Alabama (BA)
University of North Carolina (PhD)
SubjectRace, class, gender and sexual theory
Years active1975–2023
EmployerSyracuse University
  • Marvin E. Weaver II
    (m. 1966; div. 1975)
  • (m. 2011; died 2014)

Minnie Bruce Pratt (September 12, 1946 – July 2, 2023[6]) was an American poet, educator, activist, and essayist. She retired in 2015 from her position as Professor of Writing and Women's Studies at Syracuse University where she was invited to help develop the university's first LGBT studies program.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Pratt was born in Selma, Alabama, on September 12, 1946, and grew up in Centreville, Alabama. Her parents were Virginia Brown Pratt, a social worker, and William Luther Pratt Jr., a clerk.[8] She graduated with a B.A. from the University of Alabama (1968) and earned a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1979).[9]

Professional career[edit]

In 1977, Pratt helped to found WomanWrites, a Southeastern lesbian writers conference.[9] While attending the University of North Carolina in 1978, she joined Feminary, a southern feminist writing collective based in Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina.[9]

In 1984, she co-founded LIPS, a Washington, D.C. lesbian affinity group.[10] As the group's last public action, they participated in civil disobedience at the 1987 protest of the Bowers v. Hardwick sodomy law decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the first group to be arrested at this protest.[11] Her political affiliations included the International Action Center, the National Women's Fightback Network, and the National Writers Union; she also served as managing editor of the Workers World Party newspaper.[12][13]

Pratt wrote the 1990 book Crimes Against Nature, in which she described losing custody of her children because of her lesbianism.[14]

Pratt wrote extensively on race, class, gender, and sexual theory. Along with lesbian writers Chrystos and Audre Lorde, she received a 1991 Hellman/Hammett award from the Fund for Free Expression to writers "who have been victimized by political persecution".[15]

Pratt appeared in Rosa von Praunheim's 1996 film, The Transexual Menace.[16][better source needed]

Pratt served on the faculty of the distance education school Union Institute & University.[17][better source needed]

Pratt joined Syracuse University in 2005.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Pratt divided her time between Syracuse, New York and Centreville, Alabama. She was the widow of author-activist Leslie Feinberg, who died in November 2014 at age 65.[19][20] Feinberg and Pratt married in New York and Massachusetts in 2011.[21][22]

Pratt had two sons, Ben and Ransom Weaver, by a previous marriage to poet Marvin E. Weaver II, which started while she attended college.[8] In 1975, Pratt and her husband divorced in Fayetteville, North Carolina.[8] She lost custody of her children because the state criminalized homosexual activity at the time.[8]

Pratt's children, Ben and Ransom Weaver, announced in June 2023 that Pratt had been diagnosed with a 'severe health problem' and was receiving palliative care. She died in Syracuse, New York, on July 2, 2023, at the age of 76. Her New York Times obituary specified that she had suffered from glioblastoma.[6][23][24][25]

Published works[edit]

  • The Sound of One Fork. Durham, NC: Night Heron Press. 1981. ISBN 978-0-940354-00-5.
  • Elly Bulkin; Barbara Smith (1984). Yours In Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism. New York: Long Haul Press. ISBN 0-932379-53-2. Chosen for the 100 Best Lesbian and Gay Nonfiction Books, by the Publishing Triangle, 2004.
  • Biren, Joan E.; Minnie Bruce Pratt (1987). Making a way : lesbians out front / photographs by JEB (Joan E. Biren) ; foreword by Minnie Bruce Pratt. Washington, D.C.: Glad Hag Books ; San Francisco, CA : Distributed by Spinsters/Aunt Lute. p. 112. ISBN 0960317619.
  • Crime Against Nature. Ithaca, NY.: Firebrand Books. 1990. ISBN 0-932379-73-7. American Library Association Gay and Lesbian Book Award in Literature 1991, The Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets, 1989.
  • Rebellion: Essays 1980-1991. Ithaca, NY.: Firebrand Books. 1991. ISBN 1-56341-006-0.
  • We Say We Love Each Other. San Francisco: Spinster's ink books/Aunt Lute Books. 1985. ISBN 1-56341-023-0.
  • S/HE. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books. 1995. ISBN 1-55583-888-X.
  • Walking Back Up Depot Street: Poems. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. 1999. ISBN 0-8229-4096-5. Best Gay and Lesbian Book of the Year by ForeWord: Magazine of Independent Bookstores and Booksellers, 2000.
  • The Money Machine: Selected Poems. New York: Belladonna* Books. 2003. ASIN B0006S92LE.
  • The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. 2003. ISBN 0-8229-5826-0. Chosen Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry, 2003.[26]
  • Inside the Money Machine. Carolina Wren Press. 2011. ISBN 978-0-932112-60-6.
  • Magnified. Wesleyan University Press. 2021. ISBN 978-0-819580-06-1.

Honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ Anderson, Kelly (March 17, 2005). "Voices of Feminism Oral History Project: Minnie Bruce Pratt" (PDF). Smith College Libraries. Smith College. p. 24. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  2. ^ Anderson, Kelly (February 28, 2004). "Voices of Feminism Oral History Project: Joan E. Biren" (PDF). Smith College Libraries. Smith College. p. 85. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  3. ^ Pratt, Minnie Bruce. "Leslie Feinberg". MinnieBrucePratt.net. Minnie Bruce Pratt. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  4. ^ "Guide to the Minnie Bruce Pratt Papers, 1870s-2005, bulk 1975-2005". David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
  5. ^ "'Crime Against Nature' by Minnie Bruce Pratt". Lambda Literary. April 18, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Green, Penelope (July 13, 2023). "Minnie Bruce Pratt, Celebrated Poet of Lesbian Life, Dies at 76". The New York Times. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  7. ^ "University Honors Poet-Activist Minnie Bruce Pratt Feb. 26". SU News. February 25, 2015. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d Whitehead, Kim (October 19, 2011). "Minnie Bruce Pratt". Encyclopedia of Alabama.
  9. ^ a b c "Historical Note". Guide to the Minnie Bruce Pratt Papers. 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  10. ^ "Minnie Bruce Pratt papers, 1870s-2005, bulk 1975-2005". Duke University Libraries. Duke University. Retrieved July 6, 2023.
  11. ^ Anderson, Kelly (March 17, 2005). "Voices of Feminism Oral History Project: Minnie Bruce Pratt" (PDF). Smith College Libraries. Smith College. pp. 2, 62–65. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  12. ^ "Articles by Minnie Bruce Pratt for Workers World". Workers World.
  13. ^ "About Minnie Bruce Pratt". minniebrucepratt.net.
  14. ^ "Transgender Pioneer and Stone Butch Blues Author Leslie Feinberg Has Died". The Advocate. November 17, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014. Feinberg's spouse, Minnie Bruce Pratt, an activist and poet, is the author of Crime Against Nature, about loss of custody of her sons as a lesbian mother.
  15. ^ Rapp, Linda (2004). "Pratt, Minnie Bruce". glbtq.com. Archived from the original on August 14, 2007. Retrieved July 25, 2007.
  16. ^ The Transexual Menace at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  17. ^ "Minnie Bruce Pratt – Poet Activist LGBTQ+ Anti-Racist Anti-Imperialist". mbpratt.org.
  18. ^ Korey, Eileen (July 26, 2023). "In Memoriam: Minnie Bruce Pratt". Syracuse University News. Retrieved August 21, 2023.
  19. ^ "Annual Philip J. Traci Memorial Reading Feb. 6". February 3, 2005. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011.
  20. ^ Winterton, Bradley (December 16, 2003). "A transgender warrior spreads the word to Taiwan". Taipei Times.
  21. ^ Pengelly, Martin (November 17, 2014). "Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues author and transgender campaigner, dies at 65". The Guardian.
  22. ^ "Transgender Pioneer and Stone Butch Blues author Leslie Feinberg Has Died". Common Dreams. November 17, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2023.
  23. ^ Obituary, WashingtonPost.com. July 8, 2023. Accessed July 31, 2023.
  24. ^ Hall, Mary Helene (July 3, 2023). "Minnie Bruce Pratt, Alabama native who pushed for LGBTQ equality, dies at 76". AL.com. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  25. ^ Ring, Trudy (July 4, 2023). "Minnie Bruce Pratt, Poet, Essayist, and Activist, Dead at 76". The Advocate. Retrieved July 6, 2023.
  26. ^ Cerna, Antonio Gonzalez (July 10, 2004). "16th Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary. Retrieved July 8, 2023.
  27. ^ "'Crime Against Nature' by Minnie Bruce Pratt". Lambda Literary. April 18, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  28. ^ a b Poets, Academy of American. "About Minnie Bruce Pratt | Academy of American Poets". poets.org. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  29. ^ "Crime against Nature | Awards & Grants". www.ala.org. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  30. ^ "Award Winners". Poetry Society of America. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  31. ^ "16th Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary. July 10, 2004. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  32. ^ "Minnie Bruce Pratt: The Poet as Working-Class Hero - Ms. Magazine". msmagazine.com. May 25, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2021.

External links[edit]