The PEX Theatre
The PEX Theatre opened in 1945 as a small one-screen movie house in Eatonton. The theatre closed in 1970, but reopened briefly for the 1986 premiere of The Color Purple.
Ward’s Chapel AME Church
The Ward Chapel Church was established in 1813 for the Ward family and those they enslaved. Walker’s great-great-grandfather was a member of the Ward Chapel Society in the late 1800s. The original church burned in 1919, and its replacement burned in the 1940s. Each rebuild was exclusively funded by the congregation. The current structure was stabilized and rebuilt in 2015 by community members.
The Walker Family Home
This small home was originally built before the Civil War by the Ward family. Alice’s family moves into this house in 1954 until the end of the decade. A detailed renovation and expansion of the property are completed in the early 2000s by the Copelan family.
Ward’s Chapel AME Church Cemetery
The area where the cemetery is today, was most likely established as a cemetery in the late 1890s to early 1900s. The church was officially granted ownership of this property in 1997 after many years of an understood contract that the cemetery was part of the church. The Walker family plot is in the left center as facing Ward’s Chapel Road.
The youngest of eight children, Alice Malsenior Walker was born on February 9th, 1944 to sharecroppers Willie Walker and Minnie Tallulah Grant. Rubble from the chimney is the only current evidence of the home.
The birthplace of Minnie Tallulah Grant, Alice’s mother.
As a result of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Putnam County consolidated all African American schools into one school with improved funding. Alice attended this school from its opening in 1956 until she graduated in 1961 as valedictorian.
Alice Walker’s Biography
Alice Walker, best known for her novel The Color Purple, was born in Eatonton, Georgia in 1944. She was the daughter of African American sharecroppers. At four-years-old Alice’s mother enrolled her in school to keep her out of the cotton fields. Alice’s teachers recognized her literary talents, and with in four years Alice retreated completely in to books and writing.
Alice graduated as valedictorian of her high school class in Eatonton, Georgia. She continued her education at Spelman College, and then transferred to Sarah Lawrence College for her junior and senior years.
After graduation, she worked for the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi. A strong writer, her powerful novels and poetry reflected her life-long experiences, creating strong awareness of racial in equality and social justice.
Alice resides in northern California and continues her writing and speaking engagements.