Author of one of the most lauded novels ever written on the subject of race and gender, Alice Walker has helped shape the way people of all backgrounds think and talk about racial issues. Born in Georgia in 1944, Walker was fortunate to have been raised by parents, and a mother in particular, who valued the importance of an education. Although the family was living in the south under the Jim Crow Laws, Walker was enrolled in school from an early age and instantly flourished. At the age of eight though, Walker endured an injury from a BB gun while playing with her older brothers that left her blind in one eye and, for several years, marked her with a disfiguring scar. The experience at first made the once-boisterous child withdrawn and self-conscious, but, years later, Walker has said that the injury transformed her into a more aware, introspective person. For college, the bright young Walker chose to attend Spelman College, where she became involved as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Although she transferred to, and graduated from, Sarah Lawrence College in New York, Walker has remained passionately interested and involved in race relations in the south. An accomplished writer, Walker has published multiple novels, short stories, and works of poetry. The work she is most famous for, however, is her 1983 novel, The Color Purple, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction that year and was later made into a Steven Spielberg film and adapted as a play. She has remained actively involved in anti-war organizations such as Code Pink, protesting war and promoting peace - actions which have, on occasion, resulted in Walker's arrest. the American Humanist Association named the peacemaker "Humanist of the Year" in 1997, and in 2006, she was inducted into the California Hall of Fame. With her works having been translated into twelve languages, and being read in high schools, universities, and book clubs across the country, Alice Walker's influence has stretched globally, and her impact on literature, race, and the promotion of peace will reverberate around the world for decades to come.
"What an amazing world this is, trying, I think, through us, to save itself."