Site Proposal for The Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press

The Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press interests me for several reasons. First, and perhaps most importantly, it interests me because of its decision to be totally inclusive for all women of color, not just an isolated subgroup (as is so often seen in the LGBTQ community). Second, I am interested in how Barbara Smith and Audre Lorde were able to establish and maintain a functional independent press with minimal capital and no full time paid staff members until Betty Powell was hired as the first (and only) in 1984 (Lootens 24). Furthermore, I am intrigued by the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press’ continued success during its lifetime. How did Kitchen Table remain not only operational, but successful when so many similar women’s presses, such as Persephone Press “decided to go out of business” (Lootens 23) due to bankruptcy?

This site speaks to a core component in LGBTQ history that is often severely lacking and overlooked: namely, the inclusion of LGBTQ people of color. More often than not in the U.S., white people write the history and make ourselves the main characters of the narrative. In doing so, we forget that while people of color share our national experiences, they often experience them through a different lens. The Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press was founded not only to address and combat this, but also to ensure that the women who are too often overlooked in these narratives get to tell their stories as well.

The Kitchen Table described themselves as “the only publisher in North America committed to publishing and distributing the writing of Third World women of all racial/cultural heritages, sexualities, and classes” (Smith 12). It is because of this that the site of their founding in Boston is worthy of being a historic site. I had not heard of the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press until this assignment, and I am sure that many others still do not know of its existence.

If this site were to become a historic one, I believe the benefits would be ample in the nation’s understanding of its history, as well as its understanding of its present. For our history, we would better be able to promote understanding of not only the Women’s Movement and LGBTQ Movement, but their intersectionality and the important roles and contributions of women of color that currently go largely unrecognized. This understanding, then, could be applied to the Women’s Movement and LGBTQ Movement today. By doing so, it could help to further promote the intersectionality and voices of people of color which still go overlooked, and perhaps help bring us towards a point where their importance is largely understood and accepted.

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