Alice Walker (February 9th, 1944 - Present Day)
by Madeline Schaeffer
Alice Malsenior Walker was born on February 9th, 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia. Walker was the youngest of eight children, and was first enrolled in school when she was just four years old at East Putnam Consolidated. She went on to become valedictorian at Butler Baker High School, and enrolled in Spelman College in 1961 after being granted a full scholarship. Walker was later offered another scholarship from Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She accepted the offer and decided to transfer – graduating from Sarah Lawrence in 1965.
Today, Alice Walker is most well known for being an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and social activist. Walker published her first novel in 1970, and in 1982 she published The Color Purple – her most well-known work. Walker has also published a number of collections of short stories, poetry, and other writings. Her work is focused on the struggles of black people, particularly women, and their lives among the racism, sexism, and violence of the 1900s.
Walker is also known for being an influential social activist. Walker met Martin Luther King Jr. in the early 1960s, and she credits him for her decision to be an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1983, Walker coined the term “womanist” in a short story, “Coming Apart”. Womanism is a social theory based on the history and everyday experiences of women of color, especially black women. Since her initial use, the term has evolved to contain varied, and often opposing, interpretations of conceptions such as feminism, men, and blackness. Walker defined a womanist as a “black feminist or feminist of color” (Bloom 15). The term was made to unite women of color, and the feminist movement at “the intersection of race, class, and gender oppression” (Bloom 24).
Walker, Alice. The Complete Stories. “Coming Apart.” London: Phoenix, 2005.
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. New York: Harcourt, 1992.
Walker, Alice. “They Ran On Empty.” New York Times 5 May 1993, late ed.: A23.
Walker, Alice. The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart. New York: Random House, 2000.
Biography.com Editors. “Alice Walker Biography”. The Biography.com website, January 13, 2021, https://www.biography.com/writer/alice-walker. Accessed 27 January 2021.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Alice Walker”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 5 Feb. 2020, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alice-Walker. Accessed 27 January 2021.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Alice Walker. New York: Chelsea House, 1989.
Gentry, Tony. Alice Walker. New York: Chelsea, 1993.
Lauret, Maria. Alice Walker. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Winchell, Donna Haisty. Alice Walker. New York: Twayne, 1992.