In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose

Alice Walker continues to blow me away. This collection of essays, thoughts, memos written between 1966 and 1982, is page-turning and inspirational. “So much of the satisfying work of life begins as an experiment; having learned this, no experiment is ever quite a failure.”

“It was just six years ago that I began to be alive. I had, of course, been living before… but I did not really know it.”

“A white writer tried recently to explain that the reason for the relatively few Negro hippies is that Negroes have built up a ‘super-cool’ that cracks under LSD and makes them have a ‘bad trip.’ What this writer didn’t guess at is that Negroes are needing drugs less than ever these days for any kind of trip. While the hippies are ‘tripping,’ Negroes are going after power which is so much more important to their survival and their children’s survival than LSD and pot.”

“So for the past four years I’ve been in still another college. This time simply a college of books—musty old books that went out of print years ago—and of old people, the oldest old black men and women I could find, and a college of the young students and dropouts who articulate in various bold and shy ways that they believe themselves to be without a valuable history, without a respectable music, without writing or poetry that speaks to them. My enrollment in this newest college will never end, and for that I am glad. And each day I look about to see what can and should be done to make it a bigger college, a more inclusive one, one more vital and long living.”

“And if I leave Mississippi—as I will one of these days—it will not be for the reasons of the other sons and daughters of my parents. Fear will have no part in my decision, nor will lack of freedom to express my womanly thoughts. It will be because the pervasive football culture bores me, and the proliferating Kentucky Fried Chicken stands appall me, and neon lights have begun to replace the trees. It will be because the sea is too far away and there is not a single mountain here. But most of all it will be because I have freed myself to go; and it will be My Choice.”