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Alice Walker
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Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker is best known for her stories about African American women who achieve heroic stature within the borders of their ordinary day-to-day lives Alice Malsenior Walker was born on February 9, 1944, in Eatonton, Georgia, to Willie Lee and Minnie Tallulah (Grant) Walker Like many of Walker's fictional characters, she was the daughter of a sharecropper (a farmer who rents his land), and the youngest of eight children At age eight, Walker was accidentally injured by a BB gun shot to her eye by her brother Her partial blindness caused her to withdraw from normal childhood activities and begin writing poetry to ease her loneliness She found that writing demanded peace and quiet, but these were difficult things to come by when ten people lived in four rooms She spent a great deal of time working outdoors sitting under a tree Walker attended segregated (separated by race) schools which would be described as inferior by current standards, yet she recalled that she had terrific teachers who encouraged her to believe the world she was reaching for actually existed Although Walker grew up in a poor environment, she was supported by her community and by the knowledge that she could choose her own identity Moreover, Walker insisted that her mother granted her "permission" to be a writer and gave her the social, spiritual, and moral substance for her stories.

Upon graduating from high school, Walker secured a scholarship to attend Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she got involved in the growing Civil Rights movement, a movement which called for equal rights among all races In 1963, Walker received another scholarship and transferred to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she completed her studies and graduated in 1965 with a bachelor's degree While at Sarah Lawrence, she spent her junior year in Africa as an exchange student After graduation she worked with a voter registration drive in Georgia and the Head Start program (a program to educate poorer children) in Jackson, Mississippi It was there she met, and in 1967 married, Melvyn Leventhal, a civil rights lawyer Their marriage produced one child, Rebecca, before ending in divorce in 1976 In 1968, Walker published her first collection of poetry, Once Walker's teaching and writing careers overlapped during the 1970s She served as a writer-in-residence and as a teacher in the Black Studies program at Jackson State College in Tennessee (1968–69) and Tougaloo College in Mississippi (1970–71) While teaching she was at work on her first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970), which was assisted by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (1969; a government program to provide money to artists).

She then moved north and taught at Wellesley College, in Massachusetts, and the University of Massachusetts at Boston (both 1972–73) In 1973 her collection of short stories, In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women, and a collection of poetry, Revolutionary Petunias, appeared She received a Radcliffe Institute scholarship (1971–73), a Rosenthal Foundation award, and an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters award (both in 1974) for In Love and Trouble In 1976 Walker's second novel, Meridian, was published, followed by a Guggenheim award (in 1977–1978) In 1979 another collection of poetry, Goodnight, Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning, was published, followed the next year by another collection of short stories, You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down (1980) Walker's third novel, The Color Purple was published in 1982, and this work won both a Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award the following year Walker was also a contributor to several periodicals and in 1983 published many of her essays, a collection titled In Search of Our Mother's Gardens: A Collection of Womanist Prose (1983) Walker worked on her fourth novel while living in Mendocino County outside San Francisco, California Walker's first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, centers on the life of a young African American girl, Ruth Copeland, and her grandfather, Grange As an old man, Grange learns that he is free to love, but love does not come without painful responsibility.

At the climax of the novel, Grange summons his newly found knowledge to rescue his granddaughter, Ruth, from his brutal son, Brownfield The rescue demands that Grange murder his son in order to stop the cycle of cruelty Walker's third and most famous novel, The Color Purple, is about Celie, a woman so down and out that she can only tell God her troubles, which she does in the form of letters Poor, black, female, alone and uneducated, held down by class and gender, Celie learns to lift herself up from sexual exploitation and brutality with the help of the love of another woman, Shug Avery Against the backdrop of Celie's letters is another story about African customs This evolves from her sister Nettie's letters which Celie's husband hid from Celie over the course of twenty years Here, Walker presented problems of women bound within an African context, encountering many of the same problems that Celie faces Both Celie and Nettie are restored to one another, and, most important, each is restored to herself At the time of publication of Walker's first novel (in 1970), she said in a Library Journal interview that, for her, "family relationships are sacred" Indeed, much of Walker's work describes the emotional, spiritual, and physical devastation that occurs when family trust is betrayed.

Her focus is on African American women, who live in a larger world and struggle to achieve independent identities beyond male domination Although her characters are strong, they are, nevertheless, vulnerable Their strength resides in their acknowledged debt to their mothers, to their sensuality, and to their friendships among women These strengths are celebrated in Walker's work, along with the problems women encounter in their relationships with men who regard them as less significant than themselves merely because they are women What comes out of this belief is, of course, violence Hence Walker's stories focus not so much on the racial violence that occurs among strangers but the violence among friends and family members, a kind of deliberate cruelty, unexpected but always predictable Walker began her exploration of the terrors that beset African American women's lives in her first collection of short stories, In Love and Trouble Here she examined the stereotypes about their lives that misshape them and misguide perceptions about them Her second short story collection, You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down, dramatizes the strength of African American women to rebound despite racial, sexual, and economic difficulties.



 
Alice Walker Q&A discussion: Beauty In Truth
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Profile: Alice Walker
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Walker, Cleage, & Boyd Creativity Conversation
Filmed October 2, 2012. Atlanta-based novelist and playwright Pearl Cleage joins writer Alice Walker for a conversation that focuses on their creative influe...
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Alice Walker Documentary
English Documentary.
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Arundhati Roy with Alice Walker and David Barsamian - Part 1
Part 1 (with introduction by Alice Walker): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sBEfixrCL8 Part 2 (conversation with David Barsamian): http://www.youtube.com/wat...
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Authors@Google: Alice Walker
In October, 2010, Alice Walker joined Googlers in Mountain View for a day of conversation and readings from her latest book of poetry, Hard Times Require Fur...
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Alice Walker: Calling Women Guys
Walker finds the practice of women addressing fellow women as "guys" dangerous and revealing. Growing up in the South prior to and during the Civil Rights Mo...
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Alice Walker Poet Writer As Activist
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Color Purple, shared her humor and wit to a sold-out performance at the Washington Center for the Performi...
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Democratic Womanism: Author Alice Walker on Women Rising, Obama, and the 2012 Election
DemocracyNow.org - With less than 40 days to go before the 2012 presidential election, poet and activist Alice Walker reads her new poem, "Democratic Womanis...
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Alice Walker reads Sojourner Truth
Poet Alice Walker reads the 1851 speech of abolitionist Sojourner Truth. Part of a reading from Voices of a People's History of the United States (Howard Zin...
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The Color Purple: Alice Walker on Her Classic Novel, Speilbergs Film, and the Broadway Adaptation
Alice Walker discusses the birth of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Steven Spielberg's big-screen version, and her thoughts on the musical adaptation.
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Poet, Author Alice Walker Meets the Inner Journey With Global Activism in The Cushion in the Road
http://www.democracynow.org - Legendary author, poet and activist Alice Walker joins us to discuss her newest book, "The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and ...
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Everyday Use by Alice Walker
This is a modified version of "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, created by Kimberly Keen and adapted from her original presentation. from Kimberly Keen: This p...
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Alice Walker
Patricia Gras speaks with Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple.
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Alice Walker: Adding Assata Shakur to FBI Most Wanted Terrorists List is an Attack on Cuba
Watch the full interview with Alice walker on Democracy Now! at http://bit.ly/1539uwn. Author, poet and activist Alice Walker responds to the recent addition...
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Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth | American Masters, Trailer | PBS
Watch the full-length program at http://video.pbs.org/video/2365171000/?utm_source=youtube&utm_medium=pbsofficial&utm_campaign=amms_covefullprogram (US Only)...
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Alice Walker Palestinians face Oppression Much worse than Jim Crow of Old South
Writer activist Alice Walker is interviewed by Amy Goodmann at Democracy Now. Alice walker has become an activist fighting for the rights of the Palestinians...
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Trailer Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth
Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth is a feature documentary film which tells the compelling story of an extraordinary woman's journey from her birth in a paper-th...
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Alice Walker Archives Open
Highlights of novelist, poet and activist Alice Walkers visit to Emory University in April. For more information visit: http://www.emory.edu/home/news/releas...
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Alice Walker talks about self perception and love in Zora Neale Hurstons work
After 75 years, Zora Neale Hurston's novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," still resonates in the hearts and minds of contemporary audiences, but it had par...
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The World Has Changed: Conversations with Alice Walker On Democracy Now! 1 of 2
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Alice Walker - The Palestinian Spirit.
American author and poet Alice Walker in Gaza on Democracy Now.
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Alice Walker on the Cuban Five
Author and activist Alice Walker speaks about the Cuban Five, and calls on President Obama to set them free.
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Alice Walker reads from Their Eyes Were Watching God
After 75 years, Zora Neale Hurston's novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," still resonates in the hearts and minds of contemporary audiences, but it had par...
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Alice Walker Describes Creativity
Watch the PBS film online: http://to.pbs.org/1lWHPsn Alice Walker on creativity: "Creation is a sustained period of bliss, even though the subject can still ...
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