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Terri Lynn Jewell: A Tribute

Terri Lynn Jewell: A Tribute

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Published by carolyn6302
A tribute to the life and work of African American lesbian poet and activist Terri Lynn Jewell.
A tribute to the life and work of African American lesbian poet and activist Terri Lynn Jewell.

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Published by: carolyn6302 on Jan 10, 2010
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09/03/2010

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Compiled in 1996 by Carolyn GagePublished in
Womanist Theory and Research
, Spring/ Summer 1996, Athens, GA.
TERRI LYNN JEWELL1954-1995
Terri Lynn Jewell, a self-described "Black lesbian feminist poet and writer," died on Sunday,November 26, 1995, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Jewell's work has appeared inmore than 300 publications, including
Sinister Wisdom, Woman of Power, Sojourner,Kuumba, The American Voice, Calyx, The African-American Review,
and
The Black Scholar 
. Her writings have also appeared in the anthologies
Riding Desire
and
 A Lesbianof Color Anthology.
Her calendar of Black women's history, Our Names are Many, isscheduled for publication by Crossing Press in 1996, and at the time of her death she wasediting a collection of Black lesbian poets.Jewell was the editor of 
The Black Woman's Gumbo Ya Ya
(Crossing Press, 1993), ananthology of quotations by Black women. In her introduction, she writes: "This collectionwas born out of my personal need for affirmation as a Black woman. I needed a copingmechanism for the growing conservatism in this nation... We are all here, calling out to andreaching one another, gathering at one another's feet and sharing the sustenance that haskept us alive and moving in the directions we must go."The quotations she selected are a testimonial to the values she expressed in her life and inher writing:"There's nothing neat and tidy about me, like a nice social revolution. Withme goes a mad, passionate, insane, screaming world of ten thousand devilsand the man or God who lifts the lid off this suppressed world does so at hisperil."- Bessie Head"From my own study of the question, the colored woman deserves greater credit for what she has done and is doing than blame for what she cannot sosoon overcome."- Fannie Barrier Williams"... victory is often a thing deferred, and rarely at the summit of courage...What is at the summit of courage, I think, is freedom. The freedom thatcomes with the knowledge that no earthly power can break you; that anunbroken spirit is the only thing you cannot live without; that in the end it isthe courage of conviction that moves things, that makes all change possible."- Paula Giddings"The woman who takes a woman lover lives dangerously in patriarchy."- Cheryl Clarke
 
 "If there is a single distinguishing feature of the literature of black women -and this accounts for their lack of recognition - it is this: their literature isabout black women; it takes the trouble to record the thoughts, words,feelings, and deeds of black women, experiences that make the realities of being black in America look very different from what men have written."- Mary Helen Washington"Being a black woman means frequent spells of impotent, self-consumingrage."- Michele Wallace"... I know that we must reclaim those bones in the Atlantic Ocean... All thosepeople who said "no" and jumped ship... We don't have a marker, anexpression, a song that we all use to acknowledge them... we have all thatpower that we don't tap; we don't tap into the ancestral presence in thosewaters."- Toni Cade Bambara"A Home where we are unable to voice our criticisms is not a genuine Home.Nor is a genuine Home one where you assimilate, integrate and disappear.For being invisible is the same as not being at Home. Not being at Homeenough to be precisely who you are without any denials of language or culture."- From the Introduction to
Charting the Journey 
"I am
both
Black
and 
a woman... And yet I am continually asked to prioritizemy consciousness; is race more important; is gender more important? Whichis more severe, etc.? The fallacy lies not in struggling with the answer, intrying to figure out which is the correct answer for the group at hand, but thefallacy lies with the question itself."- Patricia Hill Collins"We exist as women who are black who are feminists, each stranded for themoment, working independently because there is not yet an environment inthis society remotely congenial to our struggle - because, on the bottom, wewould have to do what no one else has done: we would have to fight theworld."- Michele Wallace"... right to life is not inherent, but is by grace of... an enemy. I think thatthose who so loudly proclaim perfect freedom call out triumphantly beforebeing out of the difficulty."- Mary Shadd Cary

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