Alice Walker is the first African American Woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, but as she said, not the first to deserve it. Alice is a world renowned Author and she specifically writes African American Literature.
Alice was born February 9th, 1944 in Putnam County, Georgia. She was the youngest of 8 children, born to a sharecropper father and mother who worked as a maid in discriminatory Jim Crow times. Times such as when a white plantation owner coldly said to her mother that black children have no need for education, to which her mother said "don't you ever come around here again talking about how my children don't need to learn to read and write". Well, little Alice was enrolled in the first grade early, and went on to be Valedictorian of her high school. It's always hard for the underprivileged, but the privilege was the love and support of a mother who worked 11 hours a day for $17 a week to help pay for Alice's college, starting at the historically black Spelman College.
Alice's first book of poetry was written while still in College. Alice didn't only write, she also volunteered in voter registration drives in Georgia in the 1960's, and worked in the Welfare Department in New York City. Alice is a writer with an incredible connection to the lives of black women. Part of this is includes her work in 1975 for Ms. Magazine. Alice used her platform working for a big, national magazine to give honor and respect to one of the most influential African American authors, Zora Neal-Hurston. Zora Neal-Hurston was one of those ladies Alice mentioned as truly deserving the highest awards for literature. Born in 1861, Zora's work was incredible, but given the times, died penniless, and her work not given the respect it deserved. Alice's article on her helped rekindle national attention.
Alice's first novel came in 1970, and her second in 1976 focusing on civil rights workers in the South. Third time was a charm with "The Color Purple" in 1982, which was a breakthrough to a broader audience highlighting to the world the experiences and double jeopardy of a black woman with tough circumstances trying to live through a racist system and a black patriarchal culture. What was special was she delivered this very hard subject matter in a way people could start to understand, even if they never could or thought to before. Her book became a best seller, was adapted into a movie, and later a Broadway Musical.
Rewarded with her story being heard, Alice co-founded Wild Tree Press, a feminist publishing company and has remained an activist for years. She herself has published over 24 novels, and 10 poetry collections.
Alice's papers and manuscripts are being preserved at Emory University, and Alice at the age of 70, continues to focus on being a political voice. Alice continues to work and release new books.