Thursday, March 11, 2010

EBR Focus on Margaret Walker

This week's video features Eugene B. Redmond reading a tribute poem that focuses on poet and novelist Margaret Walker (1915-1998). The video features photographs of Walker from the EBR Collection.

Redmond Tribute Poem for Margaret Walker

Alabama, Chicago, & Jackson (Mississippi) were
Nurturing-sharing-ritual grounds For My People,
Native daughter, Jubilee'd by several trips upsouth
To East Boogie, "this beautiful little black city." You
Cooked briskets in your back yard, played bridge,
Painted 'folks' from s/mothered lands to "Poppa
Chicken" Boulevard. Horace Cayton, St. Clair
Drake, Richard Wright were your league of
Scholar-authors. The 20th, you said, was your
Century--ours too for having read/said you.

The photographs show Walker with a variety of figures and in various locations: 1.) Walker autographing one of her books in Atlanta in 1996; 2.) accepting an honorary degree from Jackson State in Mississippi in 1998; 3.) meeting with Broadside Press founder Dudley Randall in Detroit in 1989; 4.) on a panel with poets Margaret Burroughs and Gwendolyn Brooks in Chicago in 1994; 5.) with Redmond at Walker's home in Jackson, MS, in 1986; 6.) with Rosa Parks at the Shrine of the Black Madonna Bookstore in Detroit, MI, in 1989; 7.) with Gwendolyn Brooks in Chicago in 1994; 8.) at the "Black Women and Magical Realism" conference in Jackson, MS, in 1992; 9.) at an event; 10.) on a panel with Joanne Gabbin and Sonia Sanchez in Atlanta in 1996; 11.) with Redmond and Loretta Dumas (widow of poet Henry Dumas) at the National Black Writers Conference in Brooklyn, NY, in 1988 ; and 12.) accepting an honorary degree from Jackson State in Mississippi in 1998.

Some notes on Redmond's poem: Walker was born in Alabama; lived in Chicago at one point, and later settled in Jackson, Mississippi. Her award-winning volume For My People was published in 1942, and she later published a novel Jubilee (1966). Redmond's poem references Cayton, Drake, and Wright as fellow scholar-authors, who like Walker, had spent time in Chicago. Walker new and collected poems were published in her volume This Is My Century in 1989.

Related content: Eugene B. Redmond and the EBR Collection

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