July 07, 2014

On this day July 7th

DARC Ethiophile Chronicles

On this day

Margaret Walker was born July 7, 1915 in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Walker joined the Federal Writer's Project after graduating from Northwestern University. She wrote novels and poems about the African-American experience from the time of slavery up to the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Walker taught at Jackson State University until her retirement in 1979.

Dr. Margaret Abigail Walker Alexander's contributions to American letters includes four volumes of poetry, a novel, a biography, and numerous critical essays. These outstanding efforts mark her as one of the United States most gifted Black intellectuals. These accomplishments, as well as fellowships and awards that she has earned, garner her much deserved praise, but they are even more remarkable given that she achieved most of them after 1943 when she was a college professor and a wife and mother of four children. Although the cumulative demands of these pursuits would have broken the spirit of others, Walker prevailed, and in so doing reached beyond her advantaged middle class background to strengthen her race by leaving them (and all of us) a nurturing literary legacy.

Dr. Walker completed her M.A. at the University of Iowa by writing ‘For My People’, a work for which she later became the first African American to win the Yale Younger Poets award. ‘For My People’ also establishes Walker as a key player in the tradition of American female activist poets who used their work to champion marginal groups. She challenges a socio-economic hierarchy by advocating a more equitable system for disadvantaged people.

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