My theme for the Blogging from A to Z challenge is Creativity. Today I pay tribute to author Alice Walker.
Walker is best known for her novel The Color Purple. For that, she became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The book also won the National Book Award.
I read The Color Purple when it was first published in 1983, so of course it’s not fresh in my mind. But I remember it was a difficult read for me because of the main character Celie’s extremely tough life. But through Celie, who suffers both physical and mental abuse, Walker shows us the hopes and determination of the human spirit when Celie fights to be, and ultimately is, recognized as a human being.
Walker’s parents were sharecroppers, and she grew up in extreme poverty and racism. Her determination to give her parents and the people she knew a voice inspired her to become a writer.
“If you deny people their own voice,” she said, “you’ll have no idea of who they were.”
In this video, Walker talks of her childhood, of which she has fond memories despite the poverty, and her experiences with racism.
Of The Color Purple, she says, “What I would like people to understand when they read The Color Purple is that there are actually all these terrible things that can happen to us, and yet life is so incredibly magical and abundant and present, that we can still be very happy.”
Alice Walker created a novel that incorporated truths about her own life and past, about the people she loved, and in doing so, she joined other artists who, throughout history, used their creativity to break barriers, bring awareness to important societal issues, and remind us about the beauty of life and the indomitable human spirit.