In honor of African-American Heritage Month and Walker's 70th Birthday, American Masters profiles writer/activist Alice Walker, most famnous for her seminal novel, The Color Purple. Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth, airing Friday, February 7 at 8:30 p.m. on KUED, charts Walker's inspiring journey from her birth into a family of sharecroppers in Eatonton, GA, to the present. The film explores Walker's relationship with her mother, poverty, and participation in the Civil Rights Movement, which were the formative influences on her consciousness and became the inherent themes in her writing. Living through the violent racism and seismic social changes of mid-20th century America, Walker overcame adversity to achieve international recognition as one of the most influential — and controversial — writers of the 20th century. Delving into her personal life, Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth reveals the inspiration for many of her works, including Once (1968), The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970), Meridian (1976), The Color Purple (1982), In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens (1983), Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992), and Overcoming Speechlessness (2010).
Her dramatic life, told with poetry and lyricism, includes interviews with Steven Spielberg, Danny Glover, Quincy Jones, Howard Zinn, Glorian Steinem, Spphirem and Walker herself. The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Walker continues to shine a light on global human rights issues. Praised and pilloried, Walker has driven people to express joy as well as anger and ruthless vilification over her art, personal views and global human rights advocacy. As seen in the film, Yoko Ono awarded her the 2010 LennonOno Peace Award for her ongoing humanitarian work. American Masters analyzes these aspects of the self-confessed renegade's life and career.
"As a filmmaker, one of the deepest desires is to engage the audience in the conversation unfolding on screen. I am thrilled to offer this in Beauty In Truth, where Alice's openness, warmth and on-screen intimacy reflects our long history of kinship," said filmmaker/writer/producer Pratibha Parmar. "Making Beauty In Truth has been an adventure of discovery and sheer inspiration. I'm so pleased it will have a national audience on American Masters." Parmar's past works include feature film Nina's Heavenly Delights (2006) and the documentary Warrior Marks (1993), based on the book of the same name that she and Walker co-authored.