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Alice Walker

  • American author
  • Born February 9, 1944

Alice Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist. She wrote the novel The Color Purple (1982), for which she won the National Book Award for hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She also wrote the novels Meridian (1976) and The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970), among other works. An avowed feminist, Walker coined the term "womanist" to mean "A black feminist or feminist of color" in 1983.


How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mothers names.




I advocate that every woman be a part of a circle, and a circle that meets at least once a month, or if you can't do that, once every two months or every four months.




It no longer bothers me that I may be constantly searching for father figures; by this time, I have found several and dearly enjoyed knowing them all.




I see myself in all the people in the world who are suffering and who are very badly treated and who are often made to feel that they have no place on this Earth.




'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.




For me, I used to be shy towards journalism because it wasn't poetry. And then I realized that the events that I covered in essays that became journalism were actually great because they inspired me, and they became my muse.




The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.




I think Americans generally are not used to working very hard, in terms of working for the collective. I think in our country we have taken individualism to its farthest reaches, possibly.




June Jordan, who died of cancer in 2002, was a brilliant, fierce, radical, and frequently furious poet. We were friends for thirty years. Not once in that time did she step back from what was transpiring politically and morally in the world. She spoke up, and led her students, whom she adored, to do the same.




I live on the West Coast of the United States, and yet the air that I breathe is sometimes the same air that was being breathed in China the day before.




You bring children into the world. You love them with heart and soul.




I grew up in the South under segregation. So, I know what terrorism feels like - when your father could be taken out in the middle of the night and lynched just because he didn't look like he was in an obeying frame of mind when a white person said something he must do. I mean, that's terrorism, too.




I try to teach my heart not to want things it can't have.




I don't have this feeling that 70 is really old.




You cannot see the changes that you're dreaming about, because they're internal.




Language is an intrinsic part of who we are and what has, for good or evil, happened to us.




I'm entirely interested in people, and also other creatures and beings, but especially in people, and I tend to read them by emotional field more than anything. So I have a special interest in what they're thinking and who they are and who's hiding behind those eyes and how did he get there, and what's the story, really?




In South Korea, they believe that when you turn 60, you've become a baby again and the rest of your life should be totally about joy and happiness, and people should leave you alone, and I just think that that's the height of intelligence.




And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see - or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.




David Icke reminded me of Malcolm X.




I don't feel I've had a decent critic ever on the East coast.




I started out as a poet. I've always been a poet since I was 7 or 8. And so I feel myself to be fundamentally a poet who got into writing novels.




A people do not throw their geniuses away. And if they are thrown away, it is our duty as artists and as witnesses for the future to collect them again for the sake of our children and, if necessary, bone by bone.




I can easily imagine Obama sitting down and talking to any leader - or any person - in the world, with no baggage of past servitude or race supremacy to mar their talks.




I cry so much less than I used to. I used to be one of the most teary people.




I have never felt that the one thing that I am 'known for' is what I am.




As an elder of the Americas and of the rest of the planet, it is my responsibility to care for and protect, to the best of my ability, the young.




It is justice and respect that I want the world to dust off and put - without delay, and with tenderness - back on the head of the Palestinian child. It will be imperfect justice and respect because the injustice and disrespect have been so severe. But I believe we are right to try.




Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.




Clearly older women and especially older women who have led an active life or elder women who successfully maneuver through their own family life have so much to teach us about sharing, patience, and wisdom.




In search of my mother's garden, I found my own.




At one point I learned transcendental meditation. This was 30-something years ago. It took me back to the way that I naturally was as a child growing up way in the country, rarely seeing people. I was in that state of oneness with creation and it was as if I didn't exist except as a part of everything.




Human beings may well be unable to break free of the dictatorship of greed that spreads like a miasma over the world, but no longer will we be an inarticulate and ignorant humanity, confused by our enslavement to superior cruelty and weaponry.




I've always felt quite singular, even as a child. That I must stay on track to keep my purpose.




Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence.




The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.



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