The Color Purple : Historical and Political Insight
Alice Walker’s writings were greatly influenced by the political and societal happenings around her during the 1960s and 1970s. She not only wrote about events that were taking place, she participated in them as well. Her devoted time and energy into society is very evident in her works. The Color Purple, one of Walker’s most prized novels, sends out a social message that concerns women’s struggle for freedom in a society where they are viewed as inferior to men. The events that happened during and previous to her writing of The Color Purple had a tremendous impact on the standpoint of the novel.
The Civil Rights Movement was the largest influence on Walker’s writings. In a decision handed down by the Supreme Court in 1954, the beginning of civil rights occurred. In the decision of Brown vs. The Board of Education, the court ruled that separate educational facilities were inherently unequal because they gave AfricanAmerican children a sense of inferiority and retarded their educational and mental development. That case began the civil rights uprising in the United States.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbid businesses connected with interstate commerce to discriminate when choosing its employees. If these businesses did not conform to the act, they would lose funds that were granted to them from the government. Another act that was passed to secure the equality of blacks was the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This act, which was readopted and modified in 1970, 1975, and 1982, contained a plan to eliminate devices for voting discrimination and gave the Department of Justice more power in enforcing equal rights. In another attempt for equal rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 was enacted to encourage preferential hiring and promotion of ethnic minorities and women.
The equal treatment of the sexes was also an important issue in Walker’s life and is one of the primary elements in The Color Purple. In the 1970s the Supreme Court started invoking the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment (due process of law and guaranteed citizenship for slaves) to invalidate government...