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In Memoriam Of Ntozake Shange

As described by Lynn Nottage, “our warrior poet/dramatist.”

Ntozake Shange, Barnard alum (BC ’70) and notable American playwright, poet, and author, passed away on Saturday, at the age of 70.

Shange is best known for her 1975 Tony Award-nominated play, for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, a revolutionary self-termed choreoform combining poetry, dance, music, and song, to describe the racism, sexism, and violence faced by seven black women. She was a pioneer voice for Black women in America, addressing their marginalization and trauma with profound artistry.

let her be born / let her be born / & handled warmly

Her other 15 plays include “A Photograph: A Study of Cruelty” (1977), “Boogie Woogie Landscapes” (1977), and “Black and White Two Dimensional Planes” (1979). She was also the author of 19 poetry collections, six novels, three essay collections, and five children’s books. Explore more of her work through Barnard’s Digital Shange Project and The Worlds of Ntozake Shange.

In 2016, Shange dedicated a collection of her earlier works to the Barnard Library Archives and Special Collections, saying, “I feel as though I came of age as a feminist and an artist at Barnard. I formed the basis of my critical thinking in English and history classes. I was a member of conscious-raising groups, the antiwar movement and black-student movement. I got all that I ever imagined from an all-women’s college, and I thought my archives belonged here.”

From the last poem of for colored girls:

i found god in myself
and i loved her
i loved her fiercely

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