Pat Parker - Nominee

1944 - 1989

An African-American lesbian mother from a working-class background, she worked with the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and was a member of the Black Women’s Revolutionary Council and the Lesbian Tide Collective in the 1970s.   Her five books, which include Child of Myself (1972) and Movement in Black (1978), feature poems that range from oratories to narratives, all with a strong sense of black culture in history.  Her signature poem ‘Where Will You Be When They Come?’ warned gay men and lesbians to unite against the “soul savers” and “good citizens” crusading against them.  Parker was also an activist for improved women’s health care and, after her sister was murdered by her husband, championed the fight against domestic violence.  She once told a friend “I’m waiting for the revolution that will let me take all my parts with me!”  Friends and admirers established the WIM Publications Memorial Poetry award in Parker’s name after her death from breast cancer, at the age of 45.

Pat Parker Headshot

Demography

Gender Female

Sexual Orientation Lesbian

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity African American

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968) Second-wave Feminism (1960-1990)

Field(s) of Contribution

Poet

Social Justice

Commemorations & Honors

Pat Parker Poetry Award Created in her Honor

New York City's The Pat Parker/Vito Russo Center Library Named After Them (1991)

National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the Stonewall National Monument Inductee (2019)

Authorship

Original Biography Author
Victor Salvo
Biography Edited By
Owen Keehnen
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell