|Editor and Essayist||
March 31, 2004|
7:00 p.m. Lecture
UAlbany, Uptown Campus
Africana Studies, English,
School of Social Welfare,
Pride Alliance and ASUBA
Essayist, author, editor, activist and publisher Barbara Smith will speak on the topic of "Coming Home," and what it means to call a particular community "home." A resident of the Capital Region, Smith seeks to assert her notion of home through community activism and coalition building. She is currently active in a wide variety of local projects, including the revitalization of Albany’s Arbor Hill neighborhood.
Barbara Smith has played a groundbreaking role in opening up a national cultural and political dialogue about the intersections of race, class, sexuality, and gender. As an innovative critic, teacher, activist, lecturer, author, independent scholar, and publisher, Smith was among the first to define an African American women’s literary tradition and to build black women’s studies and black feminism in the United States. She offers a consistently fresh approach to discussing complex social problems, especially racism, sexism, homophobia and other types of bigotry.
A collection of Smith’s essays, "The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom" appeared in 1998. "Publisher’s Weekly" praised the collection for "stretches of sublime prose [that] translate her crystalline intellect to the page, exciting both mind and senses." The "Bloomsbury Review" called it, "an excellent example of powerful, introspective writing that challenges readers to reexamine their stance on complex issues concerning race and gender."
Smith also has edited or co-edited three major collections about black women: "Conditions: Five, The Black Women’s Issue" (1979); "All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies" (1982); and "Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology," (1983; second edition, 2000). She is also the co-author with Elly Bulkin and Minnie Bruce Pratt of "Yours in Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism," (1984). Smith also served as a general editor of "The Reader’s Companion to U.S. Women’s History" with Wilma Mankiller, Gwendolyn Mink, Marysa Navarro, and Gloria Steinem (1998).
Smith also co-founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, the first U.S. publisher for women of color, which was based in the Capital Region.
Recent honors for Smith include receiving Church Women United’s Human Rights Award (December, 2000); being featured in "Essence" magazine's thirtieth anniversary issue as one of forty-six black women trailblazers (May, 2000); and being chosen as one of "The Advocate" magazine’s Best and Brightest Activists for Lesbian and Gay Rights (August, 1999).
Smith has frequently been interviewed on National Public Radio, the Pacifica Network, and MSNBC. She has been a guest on "Donahue," "Charlie Rose," and "Tony Brown’s Journal," and has appeared in several films including "Pink Triangles" (1982), and Marlon Riggs’s "Black Is, Black Ain’t" (1985). She has lectured on college and university campuses throughout the country.