SEPTEMBER 23: Anita Cornwell (1923-)
Happy birthday, Anita Cornwell!! The LGBT activist and author of the very first collection of essay by a black lesbian to be ever be published turns 94-years-old today!
Anita’s only fiction book to date, The Girls of Summer, was illustrated by Kelly Caines and published in 1989 (x).
Born on September 23, 1923, Anita Cornwell was raised in Greendwood, South Carolina before the family moved to Pennsylvania when she was 16. At first she lived with her aunt in the town of Yeadon, but she later went to live with her mother in Philadelphia. Anita stayed up north for college and eventually graduated with degrees in journalism and the social sciences from Temple University. She worked as a journalist and a secretary before her 1983 collection of essays, Black Lesbian in White America, made her a name to know in feminist and LGBT circles. Along with Black Lesbian in White America, Anita’s writings that have been published in Feminist Review, Labyrinth, National Leader, Los Angeles Free Press, and The Negro Digest were some of the first pieces of published writing where the author declares themselves a proud black lesbian. Although Anita was surely not the first of her kind in history, she is the mother of an entire branch of literature and an LGBT hero.