Margaret Walker’s literary contributions were celebrated by The Mississippi Writers Trail on Monday with the dedication of a marker at Jackson State University. The marker is located at the Margaret Walker Center on JSU’s 1400 J.R. Lynch Street campus.
“Margaret Walker contributed not only to the world of literature, but also to the world at large with her narratives on African-American history,” said Craig Ray, Visit Mississippi Director. “It is only appropriate to place Walker’s Mississippi Literary Trail marker at her namesake institute at Jackson State University where her works continue to influence generations.”
Born July 7, 1915, in Birmingham, Ala., Margaret Abigail Walker was raised in New Orleans. She attended Northwestern University in Illinois and later received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Her seminal volume of poetry, For My People,won the 1942 Yale Prize. In 1949, Walker began a 30-year teaching career at what is now Jackson State University. After decades of research, she published her novel Jubileein 1966, ushering in a genre of modern slave narratives.
In 1968, Walker founded an institute at JSU to preserve and interpret African-American history and culture. This institute was later named in her honor as the Margaret Walker Center. She died in 1998.
Dr. Robert Luckett, director of the Margaret Walker Center, called the marker one more visible reminder of Walker’s artistic and academic legacy at Jackson State. “The Margaret Walker Center is thrilled that visitors to our campus will encounter this wonderful monument to our founder,” he added.
The Mississippi Writers Trail is an initiative of the Mississippi Arts Commission, in partnership with Visit Mississippi, the Community Foundation for Mississippi, Mississippi Book Festival, Mississippi Humanities Council, Mississippi Department of Archives and History and Mississippi Library Commission. The trail will span the state and highlight notable places that helped shape some of the world’s most acclaimed authors’ lives and influenced their renowned works.
For additional information, go to visitmississippi.org/writerstrail