Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the American Book Award for her third novel, The Color Purple, published in 1983. The Color Purple, which became an Oscar nominated film, intensified discussion among black men & women about image, role and reality. A prolific poet, essayist, short story writer and publisher in California.

“… During childhood I wasn’t aware that there was segregation or that it was designed to make me feel bad. White people just seemed very alien and strange to me. I knew that when they appeared  everybody sort of stopped having fun, and waited until they left to become alive again. I think as a child you tend to notice that deadening effect of life, more than you would their color.

I was forced to leave Spelman College. I was a rebel, without knowing or planning. I wanted to be myself and I could not do that while thinking about whether my seams were straight, and my hair as straight, and my dress was ironed, and my slip wasn’t showing.  The administration made it clear that if we were arrested in political demonstrations, we could be expelled. They were on the side of the system, even though we were trying to change apartheid in the South….”

“… I was there for the March on Washington in 1963. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It was one of those days when you feel the tide is turning and you are with the tide. I heard every word, and every word went through my whole body and through my whole soul. There was such love and vision….

… I’ve met Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer. They have been tempered in the fire of experience, and they have come through whole and shining, and just to be in their presence is to feel the warmth of the shine. They are like jewels. We’re rich because we have these women. And I don’t mean just black people are rich. I mean human beings are rich because of these women.

It’s so clear that you have to cherish everyone. I think that’s what I get from these older women, that sense that every soul is to be cherished, that every flower is to bloom. That is a very different world view from what we’ve been languishing under, where the thought is that the only way I can bloom is if I step on your flower, the only way I can shine is if I put our your light.”

Alice Walker, I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America

Every Flower is to Bloom


winter comes

stimulating growth

maturity and depth


longing for spring


she waits for it’s breaking

sensing death grasping

at the root

pushing and fighting


she blooms

retaining brightness

she pours out light