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Alexis De Veaux papers

Identifier: 791

Processing Information

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services award MH-245560-0MS-20.

Scope and Content Note

Alexis De Veaux’s papers mainly consist of correspondence, drafts of original manuscripts, photographs, and ephemera documenting her professional life and work. Correspondence within the collection is professional in nature, covering De Veaux’s many speaking and lecturing engagements, publishing, her work as the chair of the Women’s Studies department at the University at Buffalo, and her work as a graduate student in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The papers are rich in original manuscript drafts and notebooks of De Veaux’s poetry, novels, and biographies, as well as correspondence documenting her speaking engagements, publishing and her academic career. Biographies and writings include Yabo, and Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde. De Veaux’s thesis, “This Far by Faith: A Writer’s Autobiography” (1989) and dissertation, “Concealed Weapons: Contemporary Black Women’s Short Stories as Agents for Social Change, 1960s to the Present” (undated), can be found within the collection. Additionally, her published work, Blue Heat: A Portfolio of Poems and Drawings (1985) is available.

The papers also document De Veaux’s teaching life and work as the chair of the Women’s Studies Department at the University at Buffalo (UB), and other institutions, through notebooks on teaching, correspondence, student papers, and poetry, as well as ephemeral materials such as flyers, posters, programs, and news clippings.

There is a small amount of material in the form of cards, letters, and mementos generated from De Veaux’s long-term relationship with Loyce Stewart, director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Administration at the University at Buffalo.

Of note are conference materials and photographs of the International Women Playwrights Conference at the University at Buffalo (circa 1988) and the Black Woman Writer and the Diaspora Conference in Michigan (1985). Additional photographs are mainly personal, documenting events such as her book tour in Japan in 1998, Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990 and De Veaux’s travels in Africa, and various events held by the Women’s Studies department at UB including poet Paula Gunn Allen’s visit in 1990. Also of note are compact disks for Warrior Poet produced by Out-FM on WBAI 99.5 FM Radio in New York and audiocassettes Black Box 11 and Black Box 17, readings by black poets and produced by The New Classroom in Washington, D.C. (undated). Lastly, slides and programs are available for “An Evidence of Letters,” by Alexis De Veaux and Renée Armstrong at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center in Buffalo, NY in 2000.


  • Other: 1967-2017, undated


Conditions Governing Access

Alexis De Veaux papers are open and available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to these papers has not been assigned to the Amistad Research Center. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.

Biographical Note

Masani Alexis De Veaux (1948- ) is an American writer and illustrator, and former chair of the department of Women’s Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Born on September 24, 1948, in Harlem, De Veaux received a bachelor of arts degree from the State University of New York Empire State College. She continued her education in creative writing at the University at Buffalo, where she obtained a master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees. A voice for Black feminism and LGBTQ+ equality, De Veaux’s writings often reflect the racial and sexual experiences of Black female characters. Her work has won many literary awards and encompasses a range of social articles, poetry, fiction, and memoir.

Throughout her career, she has been part of the Black feminist movement and the Third World Gay and Lesbian Liberation Movement. Her work has been heavily influenced by these movements. Early in the 1970s, De Veaux became a member of the writer’s workshop of the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center in Harlem. Under the guidance of the workshop’s leader, the late writer Fred Hudson, De Veaux won first place in a national Black fiction writers contest (1972). Working in multiple genres, De Veaux has been the recipient of a number of literary awards including the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, the Lambda Literary Award for Biography and for Lesbian Fiction, and the Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award, Nonfiction.

De Veaux has traveled extensively for her work as an artist and lecturer. She was a freelance writer and contributing editor for Essence magazine (1979-1991), for which she traveled throughout Africa. Essence chose her to travel to South Africa in 1990 to interview Nelson Mandela after his release from prison and was the first North American to interview him.

Coupled with the literary scene, De Veaux performed, read speeches and poems, made appearances at activist engagements and events, and was involved with arts centers. She attended conferences, fellowships, workshops, and retreats for artists and writers.

De Veaux’s published work includes books Na-Ni (1973), Spirits in the Street (1973), Don’t Explain: A Song of Billie Holiday (1980), Blue Heat: Poems and Drawings (1985), An Enchanted Hair Tale (1987), The Woolu Hat (1995), Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde (2004), and Yabo (2014); and short stories “Remember Him An Outlaw” (1972), “The Riddles of Egypt Brown-stone” (1980), “All Shut Eyes Ain’t Closed, All Goodbyes Ain’t Gone” (1983), “Adventures of the Dread Sisters” (1991), and “The Ethical Vegetarian” (1995). In addition, De Veaux has published dozens of articles and essays on various subjects, including “Jayne Cortez, Revolutionary Mouth on Paper” (Essence, 1978) and “Sister Love” (Afrekete: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing, 1995). One of her plays, The Tapestry (1986), is included in the

anthology Nine Plays by Black Women Playwrights. Others have been produced off-Broadway and in regional theaters across the country, and one play, Circles (1972), was produced at KCET-TV, California (1976).


18.93 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition


Condition Description

Good condition.

Alexis De Veaux papers
Jana Ross and Laura Thomson
June 2023
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Amistad Research Center Repository

6823 Saint Charles Avenue
Tilton Hall, Tulane University
New Orleans LA 70118 US
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