When Audre taught at the Free University in 1984, she asked you and May to introduce yourselves as Black women in that space, to each other, and to the world. You once acknowledged it was challenging for both of you, at age 25 and 23 (respectively), to speak in this way and to such a large group. However, you both took the opportunity, because as you also pointed out, “Otherwise, we would not be able to complain later and say that others are doing everything wrong.” From you, we have learned the importance of not allowing others to speak for us. From you, we have learned the importance of speaking for ourselves as Black people, Black women, Black mothers, Black writers. From you, we have learned the importance of creating spaces in which other Black people can do or at least be inspired to do the same. Thank you, Katharina, for your groundbreaking work honoring Black life.
—Dr. Heidi R. Lewis and Sharon Dodua Otoo from “A Love Letter to Katharina Oguntoye: An Afterword,” In Audre’s Footsteps: Transnational Kitchen Table Talk
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