Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Cheryl Clarke

Cheryl Clarke was born on May 16, 1947, in Washington, D.C., to African American parents. Clarke attended the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at age sixteen. She later received a B.A. from Howard University in 1969 and continued her education at Rutgers University, where she received an M.A. and then a Ph.D. in 2000. At Rutgers, she founded the Office of Diverse Community Affairs and Lesbian-Gay Concerns. Clarke is the author of five collections of poetry, including Narratives (1983) and By My Precise Haircut (2016), which won a Hilary Tham Capital Competition. In the 1980s, Clarke served as an editor for the lesbian feminist journal Conditions. Clarkes work was featured in the anthologies This Bridge Called my Back: Writing by Radical Women of Color (1981) and Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (1983). Clarke also was part of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the Newark Pride Alliance. In 2013 Clarke retired from Rutgers and founded the Hobert Festival of Women Writers with her sister Breena Clarke. To learn more about Clarkes life, see Marching for Jobs and Freedom by Claire Potter and John DEmilio.