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Pat Parker
(January 20, 1944 - June 19, 1989) U.S.A.

Pat Parker

Educator and writer

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Pat Parker, born Patricia Cooks in Houston, Texas, was an African-American lesbian feminist poet. Pat grew up working class poor in Third Ward, Houston, a mostly African-American part of the city. Her mother (born Marie Louise Anderson) was a domestic worker, and her father, Ernest Nathaniel Cooks retreaded tires. When she was four years old, her family moved to Sunnyside, Houston, Texas.

She left home at seventeen, moved to Los Angeles, California, earning an undergraduate degree there at Los Angeles City College, and a graduate degree at San Francisco State College. She got married to playwright Ed Bullins in 1962. Pat Parker and Bullins separated after four years. She later said that her ex-husband was physically violent and that she was "scared to death of him".

She got married a second time, to Berkeley, California writer Robert F. Parker, but decided that the "idea of marriage... wasn't working" for her. Pat Parker began to identify as a lesbian in the late 1960s, and, in a 1975 interview with Anita Cornwell, stated that "after my first relationship with a woman, I knew where I was going."

Pat was involved in the Black Panther Movement, in 1979 she toured with the Varied Voices of Black Women , a group of poets and musicians. She founded the Black Women's Revolutionary Council in 1980, and she also contributed to the formation of the Women's Press Collective , as well as being involved in wide-ranging activism in gay and lesbian organizing.

Pat died in 1989 of breast cancer at age 45. She was survived by her long-time partner and two daughters.

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Included in numerous anthologies including, Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time, and author of Jonestown and Other Madness. Parker, a Black lesbian mother from a working class background said, "I'm waiting for the revolution that will let me take all my parts."

but I give you
a legacy
of doers
of people who take risks
to chisel the crack wider.
Take strength that you may
wage a long battle.
Take the pride that you can
never stand small.
Take the rage that you can
never settle for less.

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Source: Omosupe, E. "Pat Parker", Gay & Lesbian Biography. St. James Press, 1997. p. 353 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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