Course Description

ONLINE: In this course, we will read and discuss the poetry and prose of writer Margaret Walker, and explore why Walker has been described as “the most famous person nobody knows.” Our first meeting will be devoted to Walker's life, including her family, her education and her important mentors, such as Richard Wright and Langston Hughes, and listening to and analyzing her early poems, including "For My People." During the next three classes, we will study her only novel, “Jubilee,” a story based on the life of her great-grandmother, which takes readers through the antebellum era, the Civil War and Reconstruction. The book received much praise at publication, but sales suffered after she filed a lawsuit against “Roots” author Alex Haley for copyright violation. In the final class, we will return to her poetry and hold a live discussion of her legacy with Walker scholars, leaving participants with a fuller understanding of her place among the greatest Black voices of the 20th century. | Lecture + Q&A, Facilitated discussion.

Max enrollment: 30.

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Section Title
Reintroducing Margaret Walker: "The Most Famous Person Nobody Knows"
Online - Zoom
11:00AM to 12:15PM
Mar 01, 2023 to Mar 29, 2023
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Virtual Classroom  
Course Fees
Section Notes

The instructor strongly recommends students acquire the 2016 50th anniversary edition of “Jubilee,” published by Mariner Books, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the 2013 edition of “This Is My Century,” published by the University of Georgia Press, in order to fully participate in class. During the classes devoted to “Jubilee," more reading is required (up to 185 pages one week), but the novel reads quickly and students are free to start early and read ahead. The recommended book, "Song of My Life," will be referenced in the course, but purchase of the book is optional.

Required reading:
Margaret Walker, "Jubilee" (9780544812123)
Margaret Walker, "This Is My Century: New and Collected Poems" (9780820311340)
Recommended reading:
Carolyn J. Brown, "Song of My Life: A Biography of Margaret Walker" (9781628461473)

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