Tuesday, 9 February 2010

On this day...

American author, Alice Walker, was born in 1944. The youngest of eight, and the child of a farmer earning only $300 a year, Walker found herself in poor circumstances. As an African American, such circumstances were exaggerated further under the Jim Crow Laws; one white plantation even suggested to Walker's mother that blacks had 'no need for education'. Yet fortunately, Walker's mother refused to abide by such social rules, and indeed sent her to school a year early.

However, at the age of eight, a shooting incident marred Walker's childhood, leaving her permanently blind in one eye and with disfiguring scar tissue. It was then that Walker turned to writing, using it as a solace to which she could escape; an experience which allowed her to 'really notice relationships and to learn to be patient enough to care about how they turned out'. One of the most profound effects on her work, was that of meeting Martin Luther King while a student, and political activism is at the forefromt of many of her novels. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, Walker's most notable work is 'The Color Purple'.

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