The brightly coloured quilt Alice Walker made at her mother’s suggestion while she was writing The Color Purple, and the original handwritten manuscript of her Pulitzer prize-winning novel, have been put on display at a university in Georgia.
Spanning a period of 65 years and featuring 200 items, the first public exhibition of the archives of the Georgia-born Walker also includes the scrapbook she began to keep aged 14, photographs, letters, memorabilia and drafts of her early writings. A note written by Walker on a pad of paper reads: “People are known by the records they keep. If it isn’t in the records it will be said it didn’t happen. That is what history is: a keeping of records.”
“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.”