This Day in Black History: April 18, 1983

Alice Walker becomes the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Posted: 04/18/2014 12:00 AM EDT

Alice Walker is an internationally celebrated author best known for her award-winning 1982 novel The Color Purple. The groundbreaking novel about Black life in rural Georgia during the 1930s was so well received that on April 18, 1983, she became the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize.

The book also won the National Book Award for fiction that same year. The Color Purple, already acclaimed by the publishing world, soon became an American classic as it was adapted by Steven Spielberg for his 1985 film starring Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg.

It was later made for the stage, opening at New York City’s Broadway Theatre in 2005 and winning a Tony Award for best leading actress in a musical in 2006.

While the book was well-received on many levels, it also came with controversy for its explicit content and was banned from school reading lists nearly every year since it was published. 

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