Alice Walker Interview: Joining The Civil Rights Movement & Writing ‘The Color Purple’

Alice Walker recalls the influence of both her parents, being the youngest of 8 children, her family facing racism, how she fell in love with art at a young age, immediately joining the Civil Rights Movement when she got to college, and starting her first book while living in Africa. Walker discusses how her 10th and most popular book, The Color Purple was inspired by stories from her Grandparents and why she was determined to have people understand their voices. Alice Walker is an American writer, poet, and activist. Born in Eatonton, Georgia on February 9, 1944, the daughter of sharecroppers, Walker was injured in a childhood accident that blinded her in one eye. Her mother felt Walker would be better suited for writing than doing chores. Her writing and academic prowess afforded her a scholarship to Spelman College, where she studied for two years before transferring to Sarah Lawrence College, where she graduated in 1965. After graduation, Waker moved to Mississippi to become involved in the Civil Rights Movement. She began teaching and writing poetry, short stories, and essays. In 1967, Walker married Melvyn Rosenman Leventhal, a Jewish civil rights lawyer and the couple became the first legally married interracial couple in Mississippi. The couple had a daughter before divorcing in 1976. Walker published her first book of poetry, Once (1968) and first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970) to much acclaim. In the late 1970s, Walker moved to Northern California, where she wrote her most popular novel, The Color Purple in 1982. The book, which explores themes of gender and sexuality and features a lesbian relationship, won a Pulitzer Prize. It was adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg in 1985 starring Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey would later produce a musical version of the book with Quincy Jones in 2004. Walker continues to publish essays, short stories, and poems including a memoir, The Chicken Chronicles, in 2011. From the 2013 PBS Documentary “Makers: Women Who Make America”, examines how women have helped shape America over the past 150 years, striving for a full and fair share of political power and economic opportunity. Subscribe for access to hours of personal memories and lessons from some of the most influential people of our time. Kunhardt Film Foundation is a not-for-profit educational media organization that produces documentary films, interviews, and teaching tools about the people and ideas that shape our world. Learn more about our work and how to support our mission: Follow us on Instagram:… Alice Walker, Writer & Activist ©Kunhardt Productions & McGee Media. All rights reserved. #AliceWalkerInterview #kunhardtfilmfoundation



Alice Walker – Gather



Earth At Risk Conference Keynote



A Grievous Wrong Has Been Done To 5 Of Our Cuban Brothers:
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©2014 by Alice Walker



Alice Walker gives the keynote address at the
Veterans For Peace 27th Annual National Convention
Miami, Florida



An Evening with Alice Walker at Trinity College

The Only Reason You Want to Go to Heaven is That You Have Been Driven Out of Your Mind by Alice Walker

(1997 Reprint)



A Billion Women Rising – Dance is Love Generated By Self



Alice Walker Accepting the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award


To the students of the University of Georgia