Margaret Walker (1915-1998)

Margaret WalkerMargaret Walker was an American poet and writer. She was involved in numerous writing groups while in Chicago, including the South Side Writers Group, where she was a close colleague of Richard Wright. When in 1942, Walker’s poetry collection For My People won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition, Walker became the first African American woman to receive a national writing prize. In 1975, Walker released three albums of poetry on Folkways Records – Margaret Walker Alexander Reads Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar and James Weldon Johnson and Langston Hughes; Margaret Walker Reads Margaret Walker and Langston Hughes; and The Poetry of Margaret Walker.  The Margaret Walker Center in Jackson, Mississippi, founded as the Institute for the Study of the History, Life, and Culture of Black People by Walker in 1968, is an archive and museum dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of African-American history and culture, that also seeks to honor Walker’s academic and artistic legacy. Walker’s books include the poetry collection This is My Century: New and Collected Poems (1989), the novel Jubilee that might be read as a companion fiction to Gone with the Wind, and the award-winning poem, “For My People.”