Sunday, April 10, 2011

Alice Walker on The Sisterhood

From "Outlaw, Renegade, Rebel,Pagan", an interview with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now (2006) in Conversations with Alice Walker

Amy Goodman: Alice, I want to ask you about the Sisterhood. Who was this group of women writers in the 1970s that you gathered with?

Alice Walker - The Sisterhood was the brainchild of myself and June
Jordan, because we looked around one day -- we were friends -- and we felt that it was very important that black women writers know each other, that we understood that we were never in competition for anything, that we did not believe in ranking. We would not let the establishment put one of us ahead of the other. And so, some of us
were Vertame Grosvenor, Ntozake Shange, Toni Morrison, June Jordan and myself, and I think Audrey Edwards who was at Essence, and several other women that I don't tonight remember.

The very first meeting was at June's apartment because it was the
larger of -- I had moved out of my marriage house into basically two
small rooms. And so June had this beautiful apartment with lots of
space, and the women gathered there, and I remember at the first
gathering -- I had bought this huge red pot that became the gumbo pot -- I made my first gumbo and took it to this gathering of women, all so different and all so spicy and flavorful like gumbo. And we have this photo. There is a wonderful photograph that someone took of us gathered around a large photograph of Bessie Smith, because Bessie
Smith best expressed our feeling of being women who were free and women who intended to stay that way.