January 14, 2008
Why I chose Emory
Alice Walker is a poet, short story writer, novelist,
essayist, anthologist, teacher, editor, publisher, feminist and activist.
I chose Emory to receive my archive because I myself feel at ease and comfortable at Emory. That being so I can imagine in years to come that my papers and memorabilia, my journals and letters, will find themselves always in the company of people who care about many of the things I do: culture, community, spirituality, scholarship and the blessings of ancestors who want each of us to find joy and happiness in this life, by doing the very best we can to be worthy of it.
When I began considering where to place my archive Emory was not on my list. However, having visited several libraries at different universities I realized the importance to me of a lively, diverse, committed- to- human-growth atmosphere, that, when I visited Emory, I found.
I also realized my deep love of my native South, and of Georgia in particular. I knew that though I might never live in Georgia again, my first 17 years growing up Georgian made a powerful imprint on my spirit and that it was the beauty of the rural community into which I was born that accounts for much of my passion, optimism and faith in the goodness of others. Emory struck me, on visiting it, to have light, a compassionate and thoughtful light, that made even the buildings seem softer and more inviting than those I encountered in other places.
I also found friends, a necessity for the Aquarian-born! Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Rudolph Byrd, Randall Burkett, a magic trio who introduced me to the fabulous exhibits the Woodruff Library has mounted of events and people of the past whose work is essential to our national and international understanding.
I was delighted to learn of the recent addition of the Dalai Lama to the Emory faculty. In a statement he made he said the presence of Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta had drawn him South. Both of these great teachers are a blessing to us all, and confirmation, if any more were needed, that Emory, as a place that has embraced one of the most enlightened leaders of the planet, and invited his wisdom into Emory’s student and faculty life, is a place where my archive can rest with joy in the company it keeps.