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These highly personal essays, written over the course of six decades, reveal the woman as well as the artist, capturing the independent creative spirit of this literary icon. In accessible and stirring prose, Walker speaks directly about her own experiences - such as growing up in a deeply religious home, living in the Jim Crow South, marrying and raising a family, and becoming a civil rights activist. These essays also offer Walker's critical perspectives on a wide range of topics, from the role of the black woman artist to the distinctiveness of African American cultural life and to the importance of education in the fight for political change.
Maryemma Graham's introduction provides a historical context for the essays, placing Walker's work within the African American literary canon. Walker reflects on the numerous poets and writers she has known over the years, including Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, and Richard Wright. A work of broad general appeal, On Being Female, Black, and Free offers a powerful introduction to the work of an essential American literary figure.
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Margaret Walker taught for many years at Jackson State College.From Library Journal:
At 82, Walker (Jubilee and Other Essays on Life and Literature, LJ 1/90) is one of the most important African American writers at work today, having first achieved literary prominence in 1942, when she won an award for a collection of poems she penned called For My People. These essays represent six decades of Walker's personal and political life. Beginning with the personal, she speaks mostly of her experiences as a black female, writer, and teacher and of her search for freedom. From a political standpoint she focuses on the evolution of black women writers, black culture, Mississippi and politics, and education and revolution. Walker also replays well-known historical facts of black history and the Civil Rights movement, which could have been left out. She's at her best, though, when she's waxing philosophical, reflecting on the many facets of her life and times?which one hopes she'll continue in her upcoming autobiography. Worth considering for African American and literature collections.?Ann Burns, "Library Journal"
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