Margaret Walker

(July 7, 1915 - November 30, 1998) · Poet · Writer

An annotated bibliography by Syn Parker · December 2018

Margaret Walker was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Her parents were Reverend Sigismund C. Walker and Marion Dozier Walker. Her most notable works include the poem "For My People" (1942) and the novel Jubilee (1966). She attended Northwestern University and was a Literature professor at Jackson State University.


Contemporary Perspectives

Black Arts Struggle for Freedom

In the June 15, 1972 publication of JET magazine a conference for Black Arts was featured. The article features Margaret Walker's keynote address and the inspiration and knowledge she gave to the audience. The purpose of the conference "was an attempt to assess the present state of arts and letters in the Black community."

Court Dismisses Suit Over Richard Wright Biography

In the December 16, 1991 issue of JET magazine, they published a story covering the court case that was filed against Margaret Walker by the widow of Richard Wright. The lawsuit claimed that Margaret Walker violated copyright laws in the writing of Richard Wright's biography titled Richard Wright Daemonic Genius. The court decided to dissmiss the copyright infringement lawsuit because they decided that the marketability of Richard Wright's future publications would not be diminished.

Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander, Noted Poet and Author, Succumbs in Chicago

In December 1998, JET magazine published a tribute to Margaret Walker Alexander after she passed away on November 30, 1998. The article in the magazine highlights her accomplishments and impact as a Literature professor at Jackson State University. The article also mentions her family members who died before her and those that continued to live on after her death.

Blacks Furious Over Exclusion From New Great Books of the Western World

In the November 19, 1990 issue of JET magazine Michelle McCallop wrote an article about how black people were furious that "no Black authors were included in the newly-revised edition of Great Books of the Western World...". The article included some words by Margaret Walker on the topic and also mentioned that her book Jubilee should have been featured among other classics.

Woman Poet Gets $5,800 Ford Foundation Award

In the April 23, 1953 issue of JET magazine, there was a small feature of Margaret Walker's achievement of getting the $5,800 Ford Foundation Award. The feature includes a short bio of what Walker did for a living and another award she had won.


Contemporary Events

Philidelphia - Postwar Preview?

In the September 1944 issue of The Crisis magazine, they wrote an article that discusses how the U.S. might end up after the war. They discuss the different changes that could be had for black people that would continue to oppress them. These postwar conversations were happening around the time that Margaret Walker wrote the poem "For My People."

"Home" Makes it to Jackson

Loften Mitchell wrote an article in the March 1972 issue of The Crisis magazine that featured stories about his experience in the 1950sand in the 1970s. He mentions the time that Margaret Walker asked him to speak at Jackson State College. He also includes that Margaret Walker was a determined women and that he couldn't let disappoint her. He then continues to add what he did in Mississippi and the time that he spent with Margaret Walker.

The Blackness of Blindness

In the November 1971 issue of The Crisis magazine, Louis Mitchell writes about blackness. He discusses the controversy around "blackness," "otherness," and "blindness." He also discusses the value of lighter skin that is upheld in US society at the time. The conversations around blackness that include Louis Mitchell's words were being discussed during the time that Margaret Walker published her volume of poetry Prophets for a New Day.

No Such Word as 'Can't': The Uphill Struggle of the Black Classical Singer

In the February 1991 issue of The Crisis magazine, an article covered the performance of Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial. This was a performance that 75,000 people attended including Margaret Walker. The article discusses the challenges that Marian and many other black artists have faced in this time.

The Relationship of Black Women to the Women's Liberation Movement

In the eighth chapter of Radical Feminism: A Documentary Reader, Cellestine Ware's essay on Black Feminism is included. Ware discusses the role that black women haev in the overall women's liberation movement. This chapted discusses some of the struggles that Margaret Walker had to endure as a black woman in the 1960s.


Sources Since 2000

Reclamation in Walker's Jubilee: The Context of Development of the Historical Novel

In this article, Dieng "attempts to contribute to the scholarship on Margaret Walker's Jubilee." He claims that her work is an important conotribution to African American narratives. The article's intention is to look at the 1966 novel with a 21st century lens.

The Greatest Art is the Greatest Propaganda: The Fascinating and Tragic Life of Margaret Walker Alexander

In this article, Jelani M. Favors writes about Margaret Walker's perspective in the 1950s as a writer and professor. Favors discusses how Mississippi was not a place for outspoken voices. She also details the contribution that Margaret Walker gave to her students when she taught them.

"My Idol was Langston Hughes": The Poet, the Renaissance, and their Enduring Influence

Willam R. Ferris, writes about his meeting with Margaret Walker when he began teaching at Jackson Stat University in Mississippi and how she navigated many different roles throughout her life. In this tribute to Margaret Walker's life, Ferris highlights some of the success of Walker that had given her the status of being a role model on campus. He also includes an excerpt of Margaret Walker speaking about Langston Hughes during a Q & A session after one of her talks.

Margaret Walker Alexander Center to Celebrate Writer's Legacy with Forum

In this article, the Margaret Walker Alexander Center plans to host a celebration of the Jubilee author's legacy. The celebration will take place as forum and exhibit of Walker's works. The event is surrounded around the conversations of her works and how her legacy has contributed to today.

Margaret Walker Center to Celebrate 100th Birthday of Margaret Walker Alexander

In the Mississippi Link Newswire, an article was published that highlighted the Margaret Walker Center holding an event to celebrate Margaret Walker Alexander's 100th birhtday. Even though Margaret Walker lived to be 83 years old, her legacy lives on and the Margaret Walker Center has shown that. The article talks about the upcoming annual picnic that the center held to celebrate the Jubilee author.


Today's Popular Media

#MargaretWalker

@drjelks (Randall Maurice Jelks). "All my life I tried to live out a vocational calling to do justice and struggle on behalf of and besides my people #MargaretWalker #ForMyPeople rings in my ears everyday I write and speak." Twitter, 13 Feb. 2018, 6:23am https://twitter.com/drjelks/status/963418427376496640

In this tweet, Randall Maurice Jelks calls upon Margaret Walker's "For My People" as inspiration for the reasons he writes and speaks. This posst shows that even after 76 years, Walker's words still have power.

Healing and Strength

@NicJanvier (Nicolas Janvier). "Let a beauty full of healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing in our spirits and our blood. Let the martial songs be written, let the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now rise and take control. #MargaretWalker." Twitter, 7 May 2018, 9:29pm https://twitter.com/NicJanvier/status/993709451034193920

In this tweet, Nicolas Janvier quotes pieces of Margaret Walker's "For My People." He uses the hashtag "#MargaretWalker" to display his post to anyone who searches the hashtag. His quoting of her words show the meaning and impact that resonates with him.

Lineage - The Margaret Walker Song Cycle

JazzheadsOfficial. "Lineage - The Margaret Walker Song Cycle." YouTube. Oct. 1, 2009. https://youtu.be/R6fUzdEPv90

In this video, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences perform Margaret Walker's poems as a musical adaptation. The composer, Randy Klein's, music is incorporated in the adaptation. This song cycle was "available for performances at museums, schools, libraries, performing arts centers, churches, universities, and colleges."

Jubilee by the Fire

Joy. (@findingjoyinside). "Before dinner fire while I soak up the last rays of sunshine..." Instagram. Oct. 24, 2018. https://www.instagram.com/p/BpVVSZHA1Nb/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

In this Instagram post, Joy describes sitting by the fire and enjoying Margaret Walker's Jubilee. She questions why she did not know about the great writer before being an adult. The user also inputs that schools are not teaching enough black history if the famous author was excluded from her childhood education.

#ForMyPeople

Queen Ombaba Official. (@queenombaba). ""Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a bloody peace be written in the sky."" Instagram. Nov. 14, 2018. https://www.instagram.com/p/BqKm3hQhKqK/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

In this post, Queen Ombaba Official is seen modelling in a red dress. She quotes lines from Margaret Walker's "For My People." This post further emphasizes the impact and empowerment that Margaret Walker's words have continued to hold after several decades of existing.