Minnie Bruce Pratt,
Poet, educator, activist, and lover of truth.
Her words echoed in classrooms, at protests, in hearts,
A beacon against injustice, a voice for the unheard.
Minnie Bruce Pratt (September 12, 1946 – July 2, 2023), a luminary in the world of poetry, academia, and activism, dedicated her life to unveiling truths through her words and actions. Born in Selma, Alabama, and later residing in Centreville, Alabama, and Syracuse, New York, she left an indelible mark on the landscapes of literature, gender studies, and social justice.
With a B.A. from the University of Alabama (1968) and a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of North Carolina (1979), Pratt's intellectual journey was rich and varied. She was a Professor of Writing and Women's Studies at Syracuse University until her retirement in 2015 and also served on the faculty of the distance education school, Union Institute & University.
Pratt's life was not only academic. She was a passionate activist, involved in groups like the International Action Center, the National Women's Fightback Network, and the National Writers Union. In 1977, she co-founded WomanWrites, a Southeastern lesbian writers conference, and joined various feminist and lesbian action groups throughout her career.
As a writer, Pratt was known for her poignant explorations of race, class, gender, and sexual theory. Her 1990 book "Crimes Against Nature" chronicled the heartbreaking loss of her children's custody due to her sexual orientation. Pratt's poetry collections, such as "Magnified," were deeply personal and touched on themes like love, loss, caregiving, and the struggle of living with a loved one's chronic illness. Her writings earned her the 1991 Hellman/Hammett award, an accolade bestowed to writers "who have been victimized by political persecution."
Pratt was married to author-activist Leslie Feinberg until Feinberg's passing in 2014 from complications due to Lyme disease and other tick-borne co-infections. This loss deeply affected Pratt, who channeled her grief into her poetry. From two previous marriages, Pratt was a mother to two sons, Ben and Ransom Weaver.
Pratt passed away on July 2, 2023, after being diagnosed with a 'severe health problem.' Her life was a testament to the power of words and the importance of fighting for justice, making her a lasting figure in the realms of literature and activism.