Black History Month – Honoring Contemporary African American Women

Posted: February 1, 2015 in Black History Month
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BHM_D1

Celebrating Black History

Honoring Contemporary Black Women

    Alice Walker

Alice Malsenior Walker

Alice Malsenior Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an American author and activist. She wrote the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple (1982) for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Walker was born in Putnam County, Georgia, the youngest of eight children, to Willie Lee Walker and Minnie Lou Tallulah Grant. Her father, who was, in her words, “wonderful at math but a terrible farmer,” earned only $300 ($4,000 in 2013 dollars) a year from sharecropping and dairy farming. Her mother supplemented the family income by working as a maid. She worked 11 hours a day for $17 per week to help pay for Alice to attend college.

Walker went to Spelman College in Atlanta on a full scholarship in 1961 and later transferred to Sarah Lawrence College, graduating in 1965. Walker became interested in the U.S. civil rights movement in part due to the influence of activist Howard Zinn, who was one of her professors at Spelman College.

http://www.biography.com/people/alice-walker-9521939/videos/alice-walker-pursuing-civil-rights-11994179953

Suzan Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks 

Suzan-Lori Parks (born 10 May 1963) is an African-American playwright and screenwriter. She received the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant in 2001, and the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Topdog/Underdog.

Parks was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky into a military family. She spent part of her childhood in West Germany and “attended German high school instead of the English-speaking school for military children. The experience, in addition to teaching her the fundamentals of language, showed Parks what it feels like to be neither white nor black, but simply foreign.

She eventually returned to the United States and graduated from The John Carroll School in 1981. She later attended and graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1985 with a B.A. in English and German literature (cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and later spent a year studying acting at Drama Studio London.

Toni

Toni Morrison 

Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford; (February 18, 1931) is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon and Beloved. She was also commissioned to write the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, first performed in 2005. She won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved and the Nobel Prize in 1993. On May 29, 2012, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio, to Ramah (née Willis) and George Wofford. She is the second of four children in a working-class family.

In 1949 Morrison entered Howard University, where she received a B.A. in English in 1953. She earned a Master of Arts degree in English from Cornell University in 1955, for which she wrote a thesis on suicide in the works of William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf. After graduation, Morrison became an English instructor at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas (1955–57), then returned to Howard to teach English. She became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

Lorde

Audre Lorde

Audrey Geraldine Lorde, February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992) was a Caribbean-American writer, radical feminist, womanist, lesbian, and civil rights activist. Lorde served as an inspiration to women worldwide, one of her most notable efforts being her activist work with Afro-German women in the 1980s. Her identity as a black lesbian gave her work a novel perspective and put her in a unique position to speak on issues surrounding civil rights, feminism, and oppression. Her work gained both wide acclaim and wide criticism, due to the elements of social liberalism and sexuality presented in her work and her emphasis on revolution and change. She died of breast cancer in 1992, at the age of 58.

Lorde was born in New York City to Caribbean immigrants from Barbados and Carriacou, Frederick Byron Lorde (called Byron) and Linda Gertrude Belmar Lorde, who settled in Harlem. Lorde’s mother was of mixed ancestry but could pass for white, a source of pride for her family. Lorde’s father was darker than the Belmar family liked and only allowed the couple to marry because of Byron Lorde’s charm, ambition, and persistence. Nearsighted to the point of being legally blind, and the youngest of three daughters (her sisters being named Phyllis and Helen), Audre Lorde grew up hearing her mother’s stories about the West Indies. She learned to talk while she learned to read, at the age of four, and her mother taught her to write at around the same time. She wrote her first poem when she was in eighth grade.

I hope you enjoyed the snippets. Please click the links for more information about any of the incredible women above.

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Comments
  1. […] African-American history is deeper than Google analytics and top results. In 2015, I focused on Black Women in various forms of life: acting, teaching, athletes, authors, presidents, and much more. It is not because African American […]

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