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Alice Walker

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Alice Walker

Alice Walker, one of the best-known and most highly respected writers in the US, was born in Eatonton , Georgia, the eighth and last child of Willie Lee and Minnie Lou Grant Walker. Her parents were sharecroppers, and money was not always available as needed. At the tender age of eight, Walker lost sight of one eye when one of her older brothers shot her with a BB gun by accident. This left her in somewhat a depression, and she secluded herself from the other children. Walker felt like she was no longer a little girl because of the traumatic experience she had undergone, and she was filled with shame because she thought she was unpleasant to look at. During this seclusion from other kids her age, Walker began to write poems. Hence, her career as a writer began.

Despite this tragedy in her life and the feelings of inferiority, Walker became valedictorian of her class in high school and received a “rehabilitation scholarship” to attend Spelman. Spelman College was a college for black women in Atlanta, Georgia, not far from Walker’s home. While at Spelman, Walker became involved in civil rights demonstrations where she spoke out against the silence of the institution’s curriculum when it came to African-American culture and history. Her involvement in such activities led to her dismissal from the college. So she transferred to Sarah Lawrence College in New York and had the opportunity to travel to Africa as an exchange student. Upon her return, she received her bachelor of arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 1965. She received a writing fellowship and was planning to spend it in Senegal, West Africa, but her plans changed when she decided to take ajob as a case worker in the New York City welfare department. Walker later moved to Tougaloo, Mississippi, during which time she became more involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. She used her own and others’ experiences as material for her searing examinations of politics. She also volunteered her time working at the voter registration drive in Mississippi. Walker often admits that her decision not to take the writing fellowship was based on the realization that she could never live happily in Africa or anywhere else until she could live freely in Mississippi.

Walker found the love of her life in 1967, a white activist civil rights lawyer name Mel Leventhal, and they were married in 1967.
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