Alice Walker is an American author, short story writer, poet, and social activist. She was born on February 9, 1944. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her work The Color Purple in 1982, becoming the first African-American woman to do so. Alice Walker’s age is 77.
During the course of her career, Alice Walker has authored seventeen novels and story collections, a collection of essays, and twelve nonfiction books.
Willie Lee Walker and Minnie Tallulah Grant raised Alice Malsenior Walker in Eatonton, Georgia, a rural farming hamlet. Alice Walker’s parents were also sharecroppers, though her mother supplemented her income by working as a seamstress.
While Alica Walker was a student in East Africa. Once in her senior year at Sarah Lawrence College, Walker penned the poems that would become her first book of poetry. When Walker was a student at Sarah Lawrence, she would smuggle her poetry under the door of Muriel Rukeyser, her professor, and mentor.
The poems were subsequently shown to Rukeyser’s agency. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich published Once four years later.
Alica Walker – Early Life
Walker, the youngest of eight children, began attending East Putnam Consolidated at the age of four.
Alice Walker’s right eye was injured when she was eight years old when one of her brothers discharged a BB pistol.
Alica Walker was unable to acquire prompt medical assistance due to her family’s lack of access to a car, resulting in her permanent blindness in that eye. Walker resumed reading and writing after the injury to her eye.
Walker’s scar tissue was removed when he was 14, but the scar is still visible. In her article “Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self,” she describes it.
Walker attended Butler Baker High School, Eatonton’s only black high school because the city’s schools were segregated. After receiving a full scholarship from the state of Georgia for having the top academic performance in her class. she went on to become valedictorian and enrolled in Spelman College in 1961.
She found two professors, Howard Zinn and Staughton Lynd, to be outstanding mentors during her time at Spelman. although both were transferred two years later.
After her Spelman professor, Howard Zinn was fired, Walker was given another scholarship, this time from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, which she accepted.
Alica Walker – Writing career
Walker temporarily worked for the New York City Department of Welfare after graduating before returning to the South. She went to work with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Legal Defense Fund in Jackson, Mississippi.
Walker also worked for the Friends of the Children of Mississippi Head Start program as a black history consultant. She went on to work as a writer-in-residence at Tougaloo College (1970–71) and Jackson State University (1968–69) before returning to writing full-time.
Walker published her debut novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, in 1970, in addition to her work at Tougaloo College.
In the fall of 1972, Walker taught a course on Black Women’s Writers at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Meridian, Walker’s second novel, was published in 1976. Meridian is a novel about civil rights activists in the South during the 1960s, with circumstances that closely resemble those of Walker’s own. Her most well-known novel, The Color Purple, was published in 1982.
The story follows a young, troubled black lady as she navigates not only racist white culture, but also patriarchal black culture. The book became a best-seller and was transformed into a critically praised 1985 film directed by Steven Spielberg starring Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg. In 2005, there was also a Broadway musical with 910 performances.
Alice Walker Published books
Walker is also the author of The Temple of My Familiar and Possessing the Secret of Joy, among other works. She has a number of short stories, poetry, and other writing anthologies under her belt. Her work focuses on black people’s hardships, especially women’s, and their lives in a racist, sexist, and violent society.
Walker published The Way Forward Is With a Broken Heart, a collection of short fiction based on her personal life, in 2000, that explored love and race relations.
Walker talks about her interracial relationship with Melvyn Rosenman Leventhal, a civil rights lawyer in Mississippi at the time. They married on March 17, 1967, in New York City, because interracial marriage was illegal in the South at the time, and divorced in 1976.
Alice Walker’s only child, Rebecca Walker, is an American novelist, editor, artist, and activist. They had a daughter together in 1969.
Alica Walker – Activism
When Walker was a student at Spelman College in the early 1960s, she met Martin Luther King Jr. She attributes her decision to return to the American South as a Civil Rights activist to King. She marched in Washington, D.C., in 1963. She afterward volunteered to help black voters register in Georgia and Mississippi.
Walker was detained with 26 others, including fellow authors Maxine Hong Kingston and Terry Tempest Williams. At a protest outside the White House on March 8, 2003, International Women’s Day, on the eve of the Iraq War, for violating a police line during an anti-war gathering. In her essay “We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For,” Walker describes the event.
Walker’s feminism was unique in that it advocated for women of color. In her collection In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, Walker invented the term womanist in 1983 to signify “a black feminist or feminist of color.”
At “the nexus of race, class, and gender oppression,” the word was coined to bring women of color and the feminist movement together. “‘Womanism’ provides us a word of our own,” Walker says because it is a discourse about Black women and the difficulties they face in society.
The American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature founded Womanism in 1985. To address Black women’s concerns from their own intellectual, physical, and spiritual viewpoints.”
Israel- Palestine conflict– In January 2009, Walker was one of more than fifty signatories to a petition criticizing Israel as an “apartheid dictatorship” and protesting the Toronto International Film Festival’s “City to City” emphasis on Israeli filmmakers.
In response to the Gaza War, Walker and sixty other female activists from the anti-war organization Code Pink came to Gaza two months later.
They were there to deliver aid, meet with NGOs and locals, and push Israel and Egypt to open their borders to Gaza. In December 2009, she planned to return to Gaza to take part in the Gaza Freedom March.
She revealed plans to join an aid flotilla to Gaza on June 23, 2011, in an attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade. Her participation in the 2011 Gaza flotilla provoked American law professor Alan Dershowitz to write an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post titled “Alice Walker’s prejudice.”
By taking part in the flotilla to get through the blockade, Dershowitz argued she was “providing material assistance for terrorists.”
Walker is a member of the Palestine Russell Tribunal as a judge. She is a supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
Walker wrote an open letter to singer Alicia Keys in May 2013, requesting that she cancel a planned concert in Tel Aviv. “I feel we are mutually respectful of one other’s path and work,” Walker stated.
Alica Walker – Personal Life
In 1965, Walker met Melvyn Rosenman Leventhal, a Jewish civil rights lawyer. On March 17, 1967, they married in New York City. Later that year, the pair moved to Jackson, Mississippi. Where they became Mississippi’s first legally married interracial couple since the state’s miscegenation laws were enacted.
Whites, notably the Ku Klux Klan, harassed and intimidated them. Rebecca, the couple’s daughter, was born in 1969. Walker divorced her spouse in 1976.
Walker relocated to northern California in the late 1970s. Wild Tree Press, a feminist publishing house in Anderson Valley, California, was founded by her and fellow writer Robert L. Allen in 1984.
In 1994, Walker legally changed her name to Tallulah Kate to commemorate her mother, Minnie Tallulah Grant, and paternal grandmother.
Some of Walker’s most well-known novels, including The Color Purple, were influenced by her spirituality. She has expressed an interest in Transcendental Meditation in her writings. In much of her writing, Walker explores religion, drawing on a literary heritage that includes writers like Zora Neale Hurston.
Alica Walker – Awards
|MacDowell Colony Fellowships||1967 and 1974|
|Ingram Merrill Foundation Fellowship||1967|
|O. Henry Award for "Kindred Spirits"||1985|
|Induction into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame||2001|
|Domestic Human Rights Award from Global Exchange||2007|
|The LennonOno Grant for Peace||2010|
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