Alice Walker Biography

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As the author of several novels, short stories, essays, and poetry, as well as an activist for women’s and racial civil rights, Alice Walker was able to bring Black women’s lives into the center of American literature. From The Third Life of Grange Copeland to one of her more momentous novels The Color Purple, Alice Walker is able to engender ingeniousness and originality in any genre and literary form she focuses on. After being recognized with a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, Walker not only enhanced the value of the cultural and creative roles of women of color, but also inspired Black women writers to follow her footprints in the literature world. Today, Alice Walker continues to be recognized for her prominent role of amplifying …show more content…

Although she lived in poverty and faced discrimination during the Jim Crow laws and Ku Klux Klan time period, she lived a happy early childhood and still attended school. Her father worked as sharecropper but was one of the first Black men to vote, while her mother worked in the cotton fields and as a maid. Walker looked up greatly to her mother because she had felt that she actually had a meaning on Earth and even mentioned: “I grew up believing there was nothing, literally nothing, my mother couldn’t do once she set her mind to it. So when the women’s movement happened, I was really delighted because I felt they were trying to go where my mother was and where I always assumed I would go” (White 22). When Alice was eight years old, she was shot in her right eye with a BB pellet while playing with her brothers. Scar tissue formed around the eye, leaving her physically and emotionally scarred. She no longer felt pretty or loveable, and saw herself as a disfigured person. She seeked peace and privacy in the world of literature, and this is where she also elevated her observational skills and her empathy with seeing other people suffer. When she was 14, her brother took her for an operation to remove the scar tissue in her eye, boosting her self-esteem. From this event, Walker was able to lay the foundational idea for her novels: radical …show more content…

Walker then attended Spelman College in Atlanta with a scholarship she received, and participated in the civil rights movement and attended the March on Washington in 1963. In school, she studied with revolutionary historians like Howard Zinn and Staughton Lynd and later received another scholarship to Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She was mentored by reputable teachers and poets such as Muriel Rukeyser and Jane Cooper. Many had noticed Walker’s devotion to becoming a writer, and have said, “What’s different about Alice is that she had the most incisive way of telling the truth….She wrote with a daring and force that separated her from the rest” (Cooper in White 104, 105). Walker spent a summer in Kenya and Uganda where she was able to witness the ruins from colonialism, discouraging her eagerness for the 50’s and 60’s African independence

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