About 50 people attended the Audre Lorde Legacy Cultural Festival honoring the late African-American lesbian poet, author, librarian and activist at the Block Cinema on the Northwestern University campus in Evanston Oct. 3.
The festivalwhich has traveled to other parts of the United Statesfeatured a book reading, film screenings and Q&A sessions with author Ika Hugel-Marshall and filmmaker and lesbian activist Dagmar Schultz.
Anna Parkinson, assistant professor in the German department at Northwestern, served as the evening's moderator and Michelle Wright, associate professor in the department of African-American studies at Northwestern, introduced both films: Hope in My Heart: the May Ayim Story and Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years, 1984 to 1992.
As Hugel-Marshall read from her autobiography, Invisible Woman: Growing up Black in Germany, Schultz translated the text into English for the audience. A Q&A with the audience took place after both the reading and the film screenings.
Both Hugel-Marshall and Schultzwho became friends with Lorde during her years living in Germany working on the Afro-German women's movementremarked that they had a wonderful time sharing Lorde's legacy with students, faculty and community people in Chicago. They noted that many people who attended the festival knew of Lorde's work while others were learning about Lorde for the first timeespecially Lorde's influence in Germany. Hugel-Marshall and Schultz also said that they both were struck by the fact that most of the attendee's didn't know much about Lorde's personal life nor that she had a wicked sense of humor.
Schultz said, "At the Northwestern screening, I was delighted when a Columbia College studentwhere I taught during the 1969-1970 school yearidentified himself. To my surprise, when I mentioned that I had taught courses like 'Sexism in the Media' and 'Race and Class' at Columbia, a woman walked up to me after the screening and said that she had been a student in my class on 'Sexism in the Media.' What a small world!"
"Chicago has always held a very special meaning to me," said Hugel-Marshall. "I found my father here at the age of 46 and with him a large family. Audre would have been so happy if she could have shared this with me. One of my brothers and a brother-in-law came to my reading and to the screening of the film at UIC."
The festival continued at Northwestern the following evening, Oct. 4, with a screening of two other films: A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde and The Edge of Each Other's Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde.
The festival also stopped at the University of Illinois at Chicago's (UIC's) African-American Cultural Center Oct. 2. The UIC event also featured a screening of Audre Lorde- the Berlin Years, 1984 to 1992 and a discussion with Hugel-Marshall and Schultz.
See www.audrelorde-theberlinyears.com/index.html, www.dagmarschultz.com, and www.ika-huegel-marshall.de for more information.