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Margaret Walker (Margaret Abigail Walker) Biography

(1915–1998), (Margaret Abigail Walker), For My People, Prophets for a New Day

African-American poet and novelist, born in Birmingham, Alabama, educated at Northwestern University and the University of Iowa. She began her academic career at Livingstone College, North Carolina, in 1941 and was Professor of English at Jackson State College, Mississippi, from 1949 to 1979. For My People (1942), her first collection of verse, was widely acclaimed; in addition to its powerful free-verse affirmations of the indomitable dignity of black Americans, it contained ballads drawing on the black folk tradition and sonnets displaying a high degree of conventional accomplishment. Her subsequent collections include Prophets for a New Day (1970), a celebration of the spiritual energies of the Civil Rights movement, and This Is My Century: New and Collected Poems (1989). Her well-known novel Jubilee (1966) describes the effects of the Civil War on a family in slavery; the book drew on her great-grandmother's memories of the period for its remarkable wealth of detail, as Walker records in How I Wrote Jubilee (1972). Among her other works are the biography The Daemonic Genius of Richard Wright (1982) and Black Women and the Liberation Movements (1981).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Richard Vaughan Biography to Rosanna Warren Biography