Women’s History Month: Alice Walker

Per her website bio: Alice Walker is an internationally celebrated writer, poet and activist whose books include seven novels, four collections of short stories, four children’s books, and volumes of essays and poetry.  She won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 1983 and the National Book Award.

Alice Malsenior Tallulah-Kate Walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia, a rural farming town, to Willie Lee Walker and Minnie Tallulah Grant. Both of Walker’s parents were sharecroppers, though her mother also worked as a seamstress to earn extra money. Walker, the youngest of eight children, was first enrolled in school when she was just four years old at East Putnam Consolidated.

When Alice was eight she sustained an injury to her right eye after one of her brothers fired a BB gun. Her family did not have access to a car, so she was unable receive immediate medical attention. As a result, she became permanently blind in that eye. My Ma had a similar experience. She was three, growing up in a coal camp in southern West Virginia. A neighbor kid pumped up a BB gun and shot at her face (no BB, did not realize it could hurt her in such a way) and as a result it displaced her retina and she was blinded in one eye. She had one blue eye and one green eye as a result.

I attended college briefly at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. It is a Jesuit College so of course Theology was on the agenda. Growing up in Southern West Virginia, I had a preconceived notion of what I thought that experience would be like. My expectations were adjusted when my professor assigned The Color Purple for a reading assignment. It was my introduction to Alice Walker, one of which I am greatly appreciative.

Walker has been a longtime sponsor of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. In early 2015, she wrote: “So I think of any movement for peace and justice as something that is about stabilizing our inner spirit so that we can go on and bring into the world a vision that is much more humane than the one we have dominant today.” For more information, visit their website: https://www.wilpf.org/

To visit Alice Walker’s official website: https://alicewalkersgarden.com/

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