Professor Richard Raleigh
ENC 1102 (02): Composition and Literature
12 November 2015
From Evelyn C. White’s “A Life”
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award, dedicated her life to establishing a literary canon of African American women writers and to encouraging the “survival whole” of all women. She has actively sought to win recognition for literary “foremothers” such as Zora Neale Hurston and to place their contributions within the fabric of her own artistry. Walker was the valedictorian of her high school class, and when she was graduated in 1961, she was offered a scholarship to Spelman College in Atlanta. After traveling to Africa in 1964. Walker returned to the United States and entered Sarah Lawrence College. She soon discovered that she was pregnant, and just as quickly she found herself depressed and on the verge of suicide. Walker made a decision to ...view middle of the document...
Although her father was brilliant, his educational opportunities had been limited, and he feared that education would place barriers between him and his children. When Walker left her home for Spelman College in Atlanta, her relationship with her father ended.
Minnie Tallulah Grant Walker, Walker’s mother, realized how important education was for her daughter. Minnie Walker, a farmhand and domestic worker, greatly desired an education for her daughter. According to author Evelyn C. White, “You might have some black children somewhere,” Mrs. Walker told the man as she stood, steely eyed, on her front porch, “but they don’t live in this house. Don’t you ever come around here again talking about my children dint need to learn how to read and write” (15).She enrolled Walker in the first grade at the age of four and excused her from household chores so that she might have time for her reading and schoolwork. Minnie Walker saved the money she earned as a domestic in the town of Eatonton and bought several gifts that had a great impact upon her daughter’s life:
Alice’s success was all the more striking in a state where legislators, propelled by their trademark concept of “separate but equal,” had historically allocated $1.43 for the schooling of a black child, compared to $10.23 for a white one. (15)
Walker was eight years old, when a shot fired from her brother’s Curtis and Bobby BB gun while playing in the yard (White 4) permanently blinded her right eye. Convinced that the resulting scar tissue in her eye was disfiguring and ugly, she retreated into solitude. She spent the next seven to eight years reading voraciously and writing poems.
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