Walker was born in Birmingham, Alabama on July 7, 1915.
– Her mother was named Marion Dozier Walker and she was a musician
– Her father was named Sigismund C. Walker and he was a Methodist minister
– She was taught philosophy and poetry as a young child
– In 1943 she married Firnist James Alexander
– She had four children
– She passed away on November 30, 1988 in Chicago due to cancer
Sorrow Home Margaret Walker
My roots are deep in southern life; deeper than John Brown
or Nat Turner or Robert Lee. I was sired and weaned
in a tropic world. The palm tree and banana leaf,
mango and coconut, breadfruit and rubber trees know
Warm skies and gulf blue streams are in my blood. I belong
with the smell of fresh pine, with the trail of coon, and
the spring growth of wild onion.
I am no hothouse bulb to be reared in steam-heated flats
with the music of El and subway in my ears, walled in
by steel and wood and brick far from the sky.
I want the cotton fields, tobacco and the cane. I want to
walk along with sacks of seed to drop in fallow ground.
Restless music is in my heart and I am eager to be
O Southland, sorrow home, melody beating in my bone and
blood! How long will the Klan of hate, the hounds and
the chain gangs keep me from my own?
Another poem from Margaret Walker:
For My People
I want to write
I want to write the songs of my people.
I want to hear them singing melodies in the dark.
I want to catch the last floating strains from their sob-torn
I want to frame their dreams into words; their souls into
I want to catch their sunshine laughter in a bowl;
fling dark hands to a darker sky
and fill them full of stars
then crush and mix such lights till they become
a mirrored pool of brilliance in the dawn.