February 9, 1944: Alice Walker is born.

Alice Walker, best known for her 1982 novel The Color Purple, was born in Georgia - the youngest of eight children - to a sharecropper and a maid. She began writing at age eight and, despite living in an area where Jim Crow laws existed until the mid-1960s, she attended Spelman College and later Sarah Lawrence College; at Spelman, she met Howard Zinn (A People’s History of the United States) and Martin Luther King, Jr, who inspired her to take part in the Civil Rights movement; she participated in the 1963 March on Washington and, after graduating, Walker volunteered to help disenfranchised black voters in her home state register to vote.

In a 1975 essay, Walker helped revive interest in an overlooked black, female author of the Harlem Renaissance - one who, liked herself, wrote on the experiences of black women in the South - Zora Neale Hurston. In 1982, she published The Color Purple, and, like many of her other novels, short stories, and poems, it explored the double barrier of prejudice faced by women of color. In 1983 The Color Purple won its author the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. Walker has also received an O. Henry Award and several awards from humanist organizations, and she was inducted into the California Museum’s Hall of Fame for both her literary accomplishments and for her “advocacy on behalf of the dispossessed”. 

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    February 9, 1944: Alice Walker is born. Alice Walker, best known for her 1982 novel The Color Purple, was born in...