Emory Report
April 6, 2009
Volume 61, Number 26


“A Keeping of Records:
the Art and Life of Alice Walker.”
Schatten Gallery. Free. jdelliq@emory.edu, 404-727-0136. Through Sept. 27.

“A Keeping of Records:
the Art and Life of Alice Walker.”
8:15 a.m.–5:30 p.m. April 24. Emory Conference Center Hotel. $25; no charge with valid student ID. Register by April 22 at www.emory.edu/alicewalker.

LECTURE: “Reflections on the Turning of the Wheel: Living a Life of Freedom and Choice.” Alice Walker, presenting. 8 p.m. April 24. Glenn Memorial Auditorium. Free; tickets required.


Emory Report homepage  

April 6
, 2009
Alice Walker opens her collection

By Lea McLees

Rudolph Byrd has called Alice Walker “a genius of the South whose corpus is a permanent part of our national and world literature.” Now the University is ready to share with the campus community — and the world — the national treasures of Walker’s archive, which are as colorful and uplifting as the quilt she created while writing “The Color Purple.”

The first exhibition of papers and other memorabilia from the extraordinary archives of the Georgia-born Pulitzer Prize winner opens to the public on April 23 in the Woodruff Library’s Schatten Gallery.
“A Keeping of Records: the Art and Life of Alice Walker” features 200 items drawn from one of the most complete archives in existence, says Byrd, Goodrich C. White Professor of American Studies and curator of the exhibition.

Among the materials featured in the exhibition are Walker’s scrapbook, which she began keeping at age 14, drafts of her early writings, photographs, and her notebooks. The quilt will be on display April 23–24.

“The Walker archive is unique among archives at Emory and elsewhere for its richness,” says Byrd. “It is evidence of Walker’s belief and self-awareness that she would become an important American writer. The materials date back to her sixth year of life and end in 2007, and include drafts of all her manuscripts, handwritten and typed.”

The exhibition highlights the major periods, events and projects in Walker’s life in chronological order; explores her personal and professional life roles; and establishes the cultural and historical context in which she worked.

In conjunction with the opening, Alice Walker will give a free, public talk on April 24. “Reflections on the Turning of the Wheel: Living a Life of Freedom and Choice.”

A daylong symposium on Walker’s art and life is also scheduled for April 24: Sponsored by Emory’s James Weldon Johnson Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, featured speakers include:

• Gloria Steinem, journalist, activist and co-founding publisher of Ms. Magazine

• Howard Zinn, American historian and professor emeritus at Boston University, active in civil rights, civil liberties and anti-war movements

• Susan Booth, artistic director of Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre

• Michael Awkward, Afro-American literature and culture scholar, University of Michigan

• Scott Sanders, producer of “The Color Purple” at the Broadway Theater in 2006

• Susan Kirshner, British and women’s literature scholar, Lewis & Clark College

• Deborah Plant, Africana Studies scholar, University of South Florida

• Cheryl Wall, scholar of English literature and black female writers, Rutgers University

• Evelyn White, journalist and independent scholar who authored “Alice Walker: A Life.”