Tag Archives: Alice Walker

Women

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I”m reading The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson about the great migration. Millions of African Americans escaped the Jim Crow south — fanning out to the northeast, midwest, west — for the promise of a better life and opportunities theretofore unthinkable. And I’m reminded of this poem by Alice Walker. Walker included this poem in a collection about whom she calls “revolutionaries and lovers”.

The Women
by Alice Walker

They were women then
My mama’s generation
Husky of voice—Stout of
Step
With fists as well as
Hands
How they battered down
Doors
And ironed
Starched white
Shirts
How they led
Armies
Headragged generals
Across mined
Fields
Booby-trapped
Ditches
To discover books
Desks
A place for us
How they knew what we
Must know
Without knowing a page
Of it
Themselves.

© Alice Walker, in Revolutionary Petunias, 1973