The Pulitzer Prize winner who started as the valedictorian of her segregated high school.
The only way that Alice Walker was able to attend college was because of a scholarship to Spelman College in Alabama (later transferring to Sarah Lawrence College in New York City). In 1965 she graduated from college, after studying abroad in Africa, and began her writing career.
After graduation she became involved in the civil rights movement and was a key figure in the black feminist movement. These experiences influenced her writing and lead to her most acclaimed piece of work, The Color Purple in 1982. With the publication of The Color Purple, her career skyrocketed and her career as a teacher and social worker shifted to focus on writing. 3 years later, Steven Spielberg brought The Color Purple to the silver screen and the world explored the struggles of a young African American woman named Celia. She went on to win numerous awards for this particular work, including the Pulitzer Prize.
Alice remains an influential figure, because she elucidated the struggles of her community in a way that was relatable for everyone of all colors and sexes to identify with. Thus, she transcended the lines and barriers of our nation through The Color Purple's Celia.Johnson. Such transcendence has the ability to bond and galvanize a nation in a way unlike any other, and that is where Alice Walker's true power lies. In the end, it is her bravery to stand up for a cause she deemed to be true and just that is truly astounding and inspiring for young women today.
She shifted career paths, fought for an education that others wished to deny her, and made her voice known amid the world's bustling viewpoints.
Today, she still maintains her activism through various pieces of work highlighting her experiences, and prizes the recent trip she made in 2008 to visit Gaza.
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”