Biography of Margaret Walker
Margaret Walker (Margaret Abigail Walker Alexander by marriage; July 7, 1915 – November 30, 1998) was an American poet and writer. She was part of the African-American literary movement in Chicago. Her notable works include the award-winning poem For My People (1942) and the novel Jubilee (1966), set in the South during the American Civil War.
Walker was born in Birmingham, Alabama, to Sigismund C. Walker, a Methodist minister, and Marion (née Dozier) Walker, who helped their daughter by teaching her philosophy and poetry as a child. Her family moved to New Orleans when Walker was a young girl. She attended school there, including several years of college, before she moved north to Chicago.
In 1935, Walker received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Northwestern University. In 1936 she began work with the Federal Writers' Project under the Works Progress Administration of the President Franklin D. Roosevelt administration during the Great Depression. She was a member of the South Side Writers Group, which included authors such as Richard Wright, Arna Bontemps, Fenton Johnson, Theodore Ward, and Frank Marshall Davis.
In 1942, she received her master's degree in creative writing from the University of Iowa. In 1965, she returned to that school to earn her Ph.D.
Walker married Firnist Alexander in 1943 and moved to Mississippi to be with him. They had four children together and lived in the capital of Jackson, Mississippi.
Margaret Walker Poems
For My People
For my people everywhere singing their slave songs repeatedly: their dirges and their ditties and their blues and jubilees, praying their prayers nightly to an unknown god, bending their knees humbly to an
My roots are deep in southern life; deeper than John Brown or Nat Turner or Robert Lee. I was sired and weaned in a tropic world. The palm tree and banana leaf,
The Struggle Staggers Us
Our birth and death are easy hours, like sleep and food and drink. The struggle staggers us for bread, for pride, for simple dignity. And this is more than fighting to exist;
The Struggle Staggers Us
Our birth and death are easy hours, like sleep
and food and drink. The struggle staggers us
for bread, for pride, for simple dignity.
And this is more than fighting to exist;
more than revolt and war and human odds.
There is a journey from the me to you.
There is a journey from the you to me.
A union of the two strange worlds must be.