ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Monroe’s writings on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Boston and beyond serve as a vehicle to

inform and inspire the community. Monroe writes a spirituality column for ARISE Magazine, a magazine for people of African

descent in the life and was Open Hands guest columnist for the year 2002, a religious queer magazine, and Venus magazine,

a magazine for people of African descent in the life.




Irene Monroe  Bio

Rev. Irene Monroe

Irene Monroe is a religion columnist, public theologian, and motivational speaker. As a motivational speaker Monroe gave the 2000 inaugural invocation “Cambridge 2000: A New Vision of Social Justice” at Cambridge City Hall celebrating Cambridge’s newly elected City Council. Participating along with the City of Cambridge celebrating marriage equality at City Hall, on May 16, 2004 Monroe gave the invocation “On the Eve of the Freedom to Marry.” Monroe have also keynoted at A WORLD OF A DIFFERENCE Institute’s 5th Annual Congress sponsored by the Anti-Defamation league in Boston.

As an activist Monroe have received numerous awards for her continued commitment to the community. Monroe has received the Boston Certificate of Recognition for continued leadership and dedication to Boston’s Gay and Lesbian Community, and in 1998 Monroe was the first African American lesbian to be bestowed the honor of being grand marshall in the Boston Pride Celebration. In 1997 Boston Magazine cited Monroe as one of Boston’s 50 Most Intriguing Women, and was profiled twice in the Boston Globe, In the Living Arts and The Spiritual Life sections for her LGBT activism. Because most male ministers in Boston do not open their doors to their African American LGBTQ community Monroe with the help of other local LGBTQ activists in Boston convinced the then African American minister the Rev. Theodore Lockhart of Union United Methodist Church in the South End of Boston to become an affirming parish to its LGBTQ community/ (see enclosed BayWindows article “African – American church in Boston votes to welcome gays and lesbian) As a board member of the Cambridge Family YMCA, and an activist in the LGBT life of the City of Cambridge Monroe have received The Cambridge Peace and Justice Award. Monroe has received the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching while being the head teaching fellow of the Rev. Peter Gomes, the Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard who is the author of the best seller, THE GOOD BOOK. In 1990 Monroe received the Unitarian Universalist Feminist Theology Award Boston for her project of an African American queer community. Monroe just received a commendation from Cambridge Councilor Brain Murphy for receiving the 2004 Sistah Summit Gay Pride Spirituality Award. . Monroe has also been profiled in the September 2001 issue of O, Oprah magazine. In 1998 in the national queer magazine Out Magazine Monroe was profiled in Out 100: The People Who Rocked 1998’s, and in June 1999 Monroe was profiled in the Gay Pride Episode of “In the Life TV” were the segment on me was nominated for an educational Emmy. Monroe’s writings on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Boston and beyond serve as a vehicle to inform and inspire the community. Monroe writes a spirituality column for ARISE Magazine, a magazine for people of African descent in the life and was Open Hands guest columnist for the year 2002, a religious queer magazine, and Venus magazine, a magazine for people of African descent in the life. Her writings have also appeared in The Advocate – “A Garden of Homophobia” in the December 9, 1997 issue, and in the Boston Globe-“The Unacknowledged Roots of American Slavery” in the March 15, 1998 issue. Monroe has written extensively on African American gay and lesbian history, African American sexuality, and anti-Semitism in both the black Christian and black Muslim communities. Her award-winning essay, “Louis Farrakhan’s Ministry of Misogyny and Homophobia”, was greeted with critical acclaim. Because of her training in religion and ethics much of her journalism has been as a religion writer. However, the way she reports religion in the news she is informed on a wide range of current issues and beyond. (see enclosed Boston Globe op-ed piece “The unacknowledged roots of American slavery) As a public theologian and religion writer Monroe is presently a contributing editor for THE OTHER SIDE, and a former contributor to CHRISTIANITY AND CRISIS. Monroe specialize in news features, profiles, coverage, book reviews, animal rights, and social justice issues. For several years now Monroe writes a biweekly column here in Boston called “The Religion Thang” for In Newsweekly, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender newspaper in New England States, and Monroe also write an online column “Queer Take”  from a black lesbian  issue base standpoint  for The Witness, a progressive Episcopalian journal. Here is the link to it:

Monroe says her “ column is an integration of African American, gender, queer and religious studies. As an religion columnist I try to inform the public of the role religion plays in discrimination against LGBT people. Because homophobia is both a hatred of the other and it’s usually acted upon ‘in the name of religion,” by reporting religion in the news I am to highlight how religious intolerance and fundamentalism not only shatters the goal of American democracy, but also aids in perpetuating other forms of oppressions such as racism, sexism, classism and anti- Semitism. My audience is not only LGBT people, because as a theologian I also write outside of that hermeneutical standpoint. Monroe has given talks on women’s issues such as “ Opening Communication: Talking Across our Differences as Women” at the National Association for Women in Education, “When Women Move to Connect, We Find Ourselves in a Dominant Culture of Disconnection” at the Theological Opportunities Program at Harvard Divinity School, and “Women’s Ways of Reading Biblical Text: Subversive and Empowering Strategies for Marginalized and Oppressed People at University of Massachusetts in Boston. She has also written, taught and spoken on women’s topics such as women’s healing, bodies, and spirituality. Monroe’s workshops “Debunking the Notion of a Hierarchy of Oppressions,” “ Justice Begins in the Bedroom, and “The Conceptual Trap of Whiteness” have been well received on college campuses, and at national conferences. She taught a course in “Christian Sexual Ethics” at Andover Newton Theological School. Monroe has been invited to speak or appear on panels at dozens of universities, events and conferences, including at Harvard with David Gergen, former White House adviser to four presidents, and former editor of U.S. News and World Report on the topic of “Moral Leadership in the 21st Century,” MIT, Brandeis, the American Academy of Religion, Penn State, Brown , Yale, John Hopkins, and the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and at Vassar she gave the baccalaureate address. In addition, she has preached in many churches, including Harvard’s Memorial Church, The Riverside Church in New York City, and San Francisco’s Metropolitan Community Church. Also, Monroe was a board member for the Millennium March on Washington 2000, which took place on April 30, 2000, and she is presently a board member for the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. California, Equal Partners of Faith, Cambridge Family YMCA, National Black Justice Coalition. Monroe is a national speaker for the American Program Bureau. Her papers are at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College’s research library on the history of women in America. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Monroe graduated from Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, and served as a pastor at an African American church in New Jersey before coming to Harvard. She lives in Cambridge, Mass.

You can find out more about Monroe at, or

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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updated 28 September 2011




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