Old Neighborhood Voices interviews Audre Lorde about living as a young Black lesbian in the Lower East Side (now referred to as the East Village). She discusses the interconnectedness of the lesbian communities in the neighborhood, the imperfect support systems they offered each other when there were no other options, and the pressures of living on the edge of society. Lorde also discusses the racism that was rampant in the gay community in the Village, and how the few black lesbians within these communities were met with apathy when discussing political matters. She also discusses the effects of McCarthyism in the 1950s on her lesbian communities, as well as how she gained political consciousness growing up with the Brown v. Board of Education case, as well as by living near the Women’s House of Detention in the Lower East Side and seeing Black incarcerated women for the first time.
This untitled interview features a guest who discusses her time in prison, the songs she wrote about another incarcerated woman, songs she wrote for political prisoners including Lolita Lebron and Susan Saxe, and conditions of the women’s prison which she was subjected to. She talks about how the state justified the horrible conditions at the prison, and the lack of access to any kind of rehabilitation programs, despite rehabilitation being the supposed purpose of prison.