New York Times, April 2022
Alice Walker is one of the most renowned and complex public figures of her generation. Born to sharecroppers in rural Georgia and raised in homes without electricity or indoor plumbing, Walker became an activist and a prolific writer, with 41 books across genres. Her 1982 book, The Color Purple an epistolary novel addressed largely to God, which focused on the experience of poor Black women in the American South was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She was the first Black woman to win the prize for fiction.
In recent years, she has taken positions, including in The Times, that many have found to be antisemitic and deeply troubling. Her stances have cast a shadow over her legacy, leaving readers to grapple with how to approach Walker, and her work, today.
Carla Kaplan, a professor of American literature at Northeastern University who has written about Walkers work, said she is one of many influential progressive figures who have made profoundly contentious statements.