Author: Alice Walker

Most famous for her 1982 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Color Purple, Alice Malsenior Walker (b. 1944) is an African American author, poet, and activist. Born in Putnam County, Georgia to a family of sharecroppers living under Jim Crow, Walker grew up listening to the stories of her grandfather—after whom she would base the main character in The Color Purple. Though poor, her family took education seriously, and after graduating from high school as her class valedictorian, she attended Spelman College in Atlanta, where she met Martin Luther King Jr. and became involved in the Civil Rights Movement. She later transferred to Sarah Lawrence College, completing her first book of poetry while still a student. She has written over 30 novels, books of poetry, short story collections, and nonfiction books.

Everyday Use

Alice Walker

Alice Walker (b. 1944) makes clear in this story (1973) how we treat our inheritances speaks volumes about who we are and how we stand in the world. The story is narrated by an unschooled, hardworking black woman with two daughters, one now a woman of the world—stylish, sophisticated, with a new sense of self—the other a homebody—slow, timid, attached to the humble ways of her rural roots.