Alice Walker Quotes

Alice Walker (1944- )

Alice Walker About 2005
Alice Walker About 2005. Peter Kramer / Getty Images

Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, has written fiction about African American women's experience. Alice Walker has also been an activist on environmental, feminist, and womanist causes, as well as working for racial and economic justice.

Selected Alice Walker Quotations

• Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.

• The quietly pacifist peaceful
always die
to make room for men
who shout.

• It just seems clear to me that as long as we are all here, it's pretty clear that the struggle is to share the planet, rather than divide it.

• Being happy is not the only happiness.

• And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see -- or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.

• How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mothers names.

• In search of my mother's garden, I found my own.

• Ignorance, arrogance, and racism have bloomed as Superior Knowledge in all too many universities.

• No person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended.

• I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other, and then, in some practical way, some daily way, figure out how to see people differently than the way we were brought up to.

• (from The Color Purple) Tell the truth, have you ever found God in a church?

I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I evr felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.

• (from The Color Purple) I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.

• Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.

• The most important question in the world is, 'Why is the child crying?'

• In order to be able to live in America I must be unafraid to live anywhere in it, and I must be able to live in the fashion and with whom I choose.

• All partisan movements add to the fullness of our understanding of society as a whole. They never detract; or, in any case, one must not allow them to do so. Experience adds to experience.

• (on seeing Martin Luther King, Jr., speak on a newscast) His whole body, like his conscience, was at peace. At the moment I saw his resistance I knew I would never be able to live in this country without resisting everything that sought to disinherit me, and I would never be forced away from the land of my birth without a fight.

• (also on seeing newscasts of King) Seeing the footage of Dr. King getting arrested was definitely a turning point. He showe dme that black people were no longer going to be passive and just accept the inhumanity of segregation. He gave me hope.

• For in the end, freedom is a personal and lonely battle; and one faces down fears of today so that those of tomorrow might be engaged.

• The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.

• What the mind doesn't understand, it worships or fears.

• Nobody is as powerful as we make them out to be.

• The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.

• It is healthier, in any case, to write for the adults one's children will become than for the children one's "mature" critics often are.

• (on her childhood) I could never be happy away from my mother. I loved her so much my heart sometimes felt like it couldn't hold all that love.

• I suppose because I was the last child there was a special rapport between us and I was permitted a lot more freedom.

• Well, my mother was a quilter, and I remember many, many afternoons of my mother and the neighborhood women sitting on the porch around the quilting frame, quilting and talking, you know; getting up to stir something on the stove and coming back and sitting down.

• Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book, If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for.

• Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence.

• Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.

• Don't wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you've got to make yourself.

• I try to teach my heart not to want things it can't have.

• Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.

Related Resources for Alice Walker

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Alice Walker Quotes." About Women's History. URL: . Date accessed: (today).