Free Essay

William Walker - American Adventurer

In: Historical Events

Submitted By GoKings57
Words 3633
Pages 15
William Walker - American Adventurer

Prepared for

Dr. Angelo Montante
University of La Verne
Point Mugu, CA 93042

Prepared By

Verna Tipton
History 311
University of La Verne

December 7, 1998

Table of Contents

I. Introduction Pages 1-2

II. His Life Pages 3-10

III. Conclusion Pages 11-12

IV. Bibliography

Introduction “…that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintained, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.” (Monroe, P. 1) The Monroe Doctrine stated that the United States would not tolerate European interference in the affairs of state of governments in the Western Hemisphere, and marked the beginning of American imperialism. What the Monroe Doctrine didn’t talk about, however, was the interference of American governments in the affairs of their neighbors. An early example of indifference to this type of interference was when Texas waged war to secede from Mexico. Many Texans were U.S. citizens who had settled in the vast Texas plains. Following the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, Texas was granted sovereignty by the Mexican government, and immediately recognized by the American government. For several years, soldiers from the Republic of Texas, under orders from successive Texan Presidents Lamar and Houston, made forays into Mexico, seeking to expand their territorial gains. Conversely, in 1842, Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna swore to recapture Texas and plant Mexico’s “eagle standards on the banks of the Sabine.” (Stevens, P. 1) Santa Anna ordered his troops to make various raids on Texas soil. In neither of these instances did the United States government attempt to intervene. “… a spirit of hostile interference against us, for the avowed object of thwarting our policy and hampering our power, limiting our greatness and checking the fulfillment of our


manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions…” (O’Sullivan, P. 1) In 1844, John L. O’Sullivan used the term “manifest destiny” to describe America’s inherent “right” to expand westward, creating a nation that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts. Thousands of Americans heeded his call, moving west and fulfilling this destiny. A requirement to fulfill it was the colonization of the Mexican territories that would become New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California. This colonization eventually led to the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. After defeating Mexico, the United States turned its attention towards Central America. Although the British had a firm foothold there, southern Democrats encouraged expansionism, as they viewed Nicaragua as an area for the expansion of slavery. Business interests in America saw an ideal place to build a canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as a source of valuable new materials and markets. Then-President Polk tried unsuccessfully to unite the Central American republics to fight England. Britain and America continued to spar diplomatically until 1850, when the U.S. and Britain signed the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, agreeing to cooperate on any canal built in Central America. The Clayton-Bulwer treaty didn’t signal the end of American interference in Central America, though. Many people felt that the “manifest destiny” espoused by O’Sullivan included colonization of Central America. One of the people who felt that the United States should include the five countries of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador was William Walker, a lawyer, doctor and soldier of fortune from Tennessee.


The Adventurer Born in 1824 in Tennessee, William Walker was something of a child prodigy, graduating from Nashville University at the age of fourteen. Being raised in Nashville served as the basis for the strong sympathy Walker held for Southern ideals later in his life. Walker then traveled to Europe and attended universities in Edinburgh, Gottingen, Heidelberg and Paris. By his twenty-first birthday in 1845, Walker had also earned degrees in law and medicine, and was considered a skilled surgeon. His time in Europe exposed him to the various revolutions of 1848, and the revolutionary ideas of Massini, Garibaldi, Marx, Feuerbach and Blanc influenced his later filibustering schemes. Upon his return to the United States, he practiced medicine for a short time in Philadelphia, but quickly grew weary of being a doctor. He then went to New Orleans to study law, and hung his shingle in 1845. Not long after this, he became a journalist, purchasing half interest in the New Orleans Crescent newspaper, where he wrote impassioned columns in defense of slavery and on colonizing Central America. In short order his newspaper folded, his sweetheart died of yellow fever and Walker became cynical and sullen. He moved to San Francisco in 1850, where he performed a brief stint as a newspaperman, before ending up in Marysville, where he practiced law. It was here that he began his career as an adventurer. In the 1850’s, at the height of the California gold rush, there was no shortage of people willing to finance expeditions into Mexico and Central America. Walker, an advocate of slavery, looked upon the French designs on Mexico with apprehension, as many pro-slavery people held


the American conquest of Mexico as a matter of manifest destiny, and felt that French interference would serve as a serious obstacle. In the summer of 1853, Walker traveled to Guaymas and sought a grant from Mexico to establish a militarized frontier colony to serve as a bulwark against the natives. The Mexican government, still smarting from its defeat at the hands of the Americans in 1848, was rightfully suspicious of Walker and denied his request. Walker returned to San Francisco, opened a recruiting office and proceeded to raise an armed force for his conquest of the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California. Using funds raised by selling post-conquest land grants and the promise that the new lands would eventually apply for admission to the Union, Walker was able to recruit enough soldiers to mount his offensive. Chartering the brig “Arrow”, he prepared to set sail for La Paz, only to be arrested by General Hitchcock, commander of the U.S. forces on the Pacific Coast. Sympathetic federal officials in San Francisco soon released Walker. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis replaced Hitchcock with General James Wool, who was under orders not to interfere with Walker’s plans. Walker set sail on a new vessel, the “Caroline”, and with forty-eight mercenaries, landed at La Paz on October 16, 1853. Quickly reinforced by two hundred additional men, he wasted no time in taking possession of the countryside and proclaiming the independence of the Republic of Lower California. Walker extended the laws of Louisiana over his new republic, thus allowing slavery. After his troops and Mexican soldiers skirmished near his headquarters in La Paz, Walker moved his government to Ensenada, where he abolished the Republic of Lower California and established the Republic of Sonora. This new republic, consisting of the former


Mexican states of Sonora and Lower California, was again under the laws of Louisiana. Walker named himself President of the new republic, and appointed his partners Watkins as Vice-President and Emory as Secretary of State. The news of Walker’s exploits quickly reached San Francisco, where they were regarded as a great victory, garnering a number of accolades from periodicals of the time. Judge Lott wrote in the Pioneer that, “the term filibuster no longer means a pirate. It means the encompassing of the weak by the strong. The term filibuster is now identical with the pioneer of progress.” (Juda, P. 3) The expedition’s popularity skyrocketed, and hundreds of men flocked to join Walker. Enlistment offices were opened, the Sonora Company’s bonds were openly sold, and the flag of the new republic was flown at the corner of Kearny and Sacramento Streets in San Francisco. While Walker waited for his new recruits, his supply ship sailed away with the majority of his supplies. Upon the arrival of two hundred new soldiers, he was forced to send them through neighboring towns and villages to forage for supplies. A battle was fought with the locals at Guilla, as they did not want to give up their cattle and supplies to the American mercenaries. Walker began to drill his troops in preparation for a march on the city of Sonora, but discontent had broken out amongst the new recruits. Disease and desertion took their toll on the numbers of Walker’s soldiers, until his force numbered less than one hundred. With this small band, he began his march on the city of Sonora, but by the time the group reached the Colorado River, only 35 men remained in the party. Realizing he did not have the forces


necessary to hold the country, Walker temporarily shelved his dreams of conquest and returned to San Francisco. Although treated as a hero by the populace, he was forced to surrender himself to General Wool upon his return. Tried for violation of the U.S. neutrality laws, Walker’s previous experience as a lawyer came in handy. His skillful self-defense resulted in an acquittal for him, and he returned to his law practice for a short time. Civilian life held no excitement for him, and Walker soon returned to his adventurous ways. During the Nicaraguan Civil War of 1854-55, the leader of the Leonese faction requested Walker’s assistance in defeating the Granada faction. Financed and supported by Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Nicaragua Transit Company, Walker handpicked a force of fifty-six mercenaries, many of them veterans of the Mexican War and various expeditionary actions. Walker, who envisioned himself as the “gray-eyed man of destiny” so prevalent in Nicaraguan folk history, again attempted to create an American colony in Central America. Although the U.S. Marshals tried to prevent his departure, the federal officials in San Francisco still held Walker in high esteem. General Wool, empowered by the President to prevent all filibustering activity, not only knew about Walker’s plan, but wished him success in his endeavors. Accompanied by the “Fifty-Six Immortals” as they were called in the stateside press, Walker set sail on the brig “Vespa” on May 4, 1855. Upon landing in Nicaragua, the mercenaries were joined by 175 local rebels of the Leonese faction. Walker’s forces were defeated in their first battle at Rivas, but they regrouped and routed the enemy at Granada.

6 After the Leonese victory, Walker was given the rank of Generalissimo, and he soon declared himself President. His exploits again garnered him much praise in the stateside press, leading to diplomatic recognition of his government by the administration of President Franklin Pierce. Slavery advocates began a propaganda campaign, raising recruits and money for Walker’s endeavor. An army of over 1200 men was openly recruited in San Francisco, New York and New Orleans, and by the summer of 1856, he controlled all of Nicaragua. With all power centered in his hands, Walker’s true colors began to show. While he professed that “it is the aim of myself and those under my command to establish the government on a basis at once firm and liberal, to secure the rights of the people while we maintain law and order,” but his actions tell a different story. (DeBow, P. 149) He rewrote Nicaraguan law from top to bottom, and in doing so, created many unpopular policies and sowed the seeds of rebellion in his newly conquered land. He legalized slavery in an effort to cull favor with wealthy patrons in the American South, and beefed up the tax laws, forcing many poor people further into poverty. In an attempt to make it easier for Anglos to dominate Nicaragua, he instituted land “reform”, requiring all land to be registered. For the majority of local landowners, no paperwork had ever been completed on their property, and many of them lost their land to Walker and his cronies. His biggest mistake, however, was revoking the franchise of Vanderbilt’s Nicaragua Transit Company, and awarded a twenty-five year franchise to Edmond Randolf, Vanderbilt’s competitor. Another mistake by Walker was the attempted invasion of Costa Rica. In an effort to expand their territorial gains, 300 men under the command of Col. Schlessinger began a march

7 into the Costa Rican countryside. On March 20, 1856, a force of 2500 Costa Rican soldiers defeated Walker’s soldiers in a 14-minute battle at Guanacaste. After being chased back across the border into Nicaragua, Walker’s soldiers were defeated again on April 11, in a bloody battle at Rivas. Over half of the attacking Costa Ricans, whose forces were supplemented by Nicaraguan rebels, were killed by the troops under Schlessinger, but a suicide mission by two Costa Ricans to set fire to the fort Walker’s men took cover in led to the defeat and retreat of Schlessinger’s command. Vanderbilt, upset by Walker’s betrayal, used these mistakes against Walker. Revolts were financed and fomented by Vanderbilt, and Walker’s stranglehold on Nicaragua was steadily chipped away at. While his early exploits earned him many allies in American power circles, when he turned to them for help in maintaining his control of Nicaragua, he found that his pleas fell on deaf ears. Nobody wanted to upset Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose wealth and power in America were immense. Walker tried to use sensationalism and bootlicking to convince the Congress to assist him when he stated that “they may kill every American now in Nicaragua… I know that the honor and the interests of the great country which, despite of the foreign service I am engaged in, I still love to call my own, are involved in the present struggle.” (DeBow, P. 150) However, even those Southern Democrats who had so loudly trumpeted Walker’s achievements were unable to garner support for his cause. Walker’s ability to receive regular reinforcements and supplies was diminished, and his lines of communication to influential Americans withered.

8 Costa Rica formally declared war against Walker’s Nicaragua, and in concert with troops from Honduras and Guatemala, and with the aid of Nicaraguan rebels financed by Vanderbilt, Walker was finally driven from power. After a series of military reversals, Walker and his troops found themselves surrounded in the town of Rivas. With no reinforcements available, and unable to receive supplies, Walker sought protection from his enemies through Capt. Davis of the United States Navy. Upon his return to New Orleans in May of 1857, Walker was hailed as a conquering hero. A patriotic rally was held for Walker and the Fifty-Six Immortals, who, resplendent in their full uniforms, were honored by a cheering crowd of thousands. However, a falling out between Walker and his troops soon occurred, with Walker being called “cruel, indifferent and neglectful.” This did nothing to dissuade Walker from attempting to mount another expedition into Nicaragua. After raising a force of approximately 150 men, Walker again sailed for Nicaragua on November 14, 1857. Landing at Punta Arenas, Walker declared himself the Commander of the Nicaraguan Army and began a new war against those who had recently deposed him. Unfortunately for Walker, the U.S. government had other ideas about the rightful government of Nicaragua, and the Caribbean Squadron of the U.S. Navy, commanded by Commodore Paulding, was ordered into the area to find and bring back Walker. On December 8, Walker surrendered to Paulding, and was brought back to New Orleans to stand trial for violation of U.S. neutrality laws. President Buchanan, having gone so far as to denounce Walker’s adventures as blatant filibustering, was adamant that Walker be found guilty. However, Walker’s previous career as a

9 lawyer served him well again, and his skillful defense of himself so overwhelmed the jury that they were unable to render a verdict against him and he was set free. Again, an unperturbed Walker refused to settle into civilian life. He set about recruiting a force for another expedition, and attempted to lead them into Nicaragua by sneaking through Honduras. Before long, troops began to desert, and a number of them sacked the British Customs House in Honduras. British Marines gave chase and captured Walker and his remaining seventy men. The troops were sent back to the United States, where the majority of them joined other expeditions to Central and South America. William Walker, however, after being promised protection by British Captain Saloman, was turned over to the Honduran government. After being convicted by a military tribunal and sentenced to death, William Walker was held incommunicado for three days in a rat-infested jail. On September 12, 1860, William Walker was led into a village square, where, squinting against the mid-day tropical sun, he faced a Honduran firing squad. With one volley of the firing squad, one of the most infamous adventurers in American history was dead at the age of thirty-six.


Conclusion William Walker’s death at the hands of a firing squad did little to dissuade Americans from adventures in Central America. Quite the opposite happened, in fact. American business interests continued to pour money into Central American mining companies and into banana and coffee plantations. Cornelius Vanderbilt consolidated his hold on Nicaraguan transportation after the overthrow of Walker. In Honduras, where Walker was executed, U.S. interests owned over 1 million acres of the most fertile land in the country, creating the term “banana republic”. The U.S. government began responding to requests for protection by American business interests, by intervening with military forces in all the countries of Central America, an intervention that continues today. Walker’s exploits, besides furthering the cause of American interests in the region, garnered the U.S. government and businesses a distrust by the Central American peoples that lasts to this day. During Walker’s life, Americans viewed him in black and white – either they adored him and romanticized his exploits, or they reviled him and sought to paint him as a greedy, self-serving megalomaniac. There was no gray area when it came to William Walker. One magazine editor, in recounting Walker’s adventures, stated “Walker’s last effort was against Honduras. It was a more miserable failure than any of his former enterprises; and there are few persons who do not think that he richly deserved his fate.” (Editor, Ladies Repository, P. 697) Another author opined that “it was the fortune of this writer…to have been intimately associated with General Walker…has rejoiced at all the successes he has achieved, has deeply regretted his


errors, and now mourns his untimely end. A braver spirit never winged its flight from tenement of clay.” (DeBow, P. 206) However, in later years, those who sought to stigmatize Walker were more popular than those who saw him in a noble light. Joaquin Miller, a soldier who served under Walker and later received some renown as a poet wrote of visiting Walker’s grave, and captured the general feeling towards Walker by his fellow Americans:
“He lies low in the leveled sand,
Unsheltered from the tropic sun,
And now of all he knew not one,
Will speak him fair in that far land.” Right or wrong, egotist or not, William Walker sincerely believed in what he was doing. As he wrote to Senator Weller in 1857, “We may perish in the work we have undertaken, and our cause may be for a time lost, but if we fall, we feel it is in the path of honor. And what is life, or what is success, in comparison with the consciousness of having performed a duty, and of having co-operated, no matter how slightly, in the cause of improvement and progess?” (DeBow, P. 150-151)



Buschini, J., “U.S. Intervention in Latin America”, Small Planet. Available online at

Editor, “The Walker Expedition of 1856”, DeBow’s Review, Vol. 2, Issue 24, Pp. 146-151. J. D. B. DeBow, New Orleans, 1858. Available online at moa-idx?notisid=ACG1336-1307DEBO.

Editor, “The War in Nicaragua by Gen. William Walker”, DeBow’s Review, Vol. 30, Issue 2, Pp. 203-206. J. D. B. DeBow, New Orleans, 1861. Available online at cgi-bin/moa/sgml/moa-idx?notisid=ACG1336-1313DEBO.

Editor, “Editor’s Repository”, The Ladies’ Repository, Vol. 20, Issue 11, Pg. 697. Methodist Episcopal Church, Cincinnati, 1860. Available online at moa-idx?notisid=ACG2248-1495LADI-.

Editor, “General Walker’s Policy in Central America - The Question of Civilization and Labor”, DeBow’s Review, Vol. 28, Issue 2, Pp. 154-173. J. D. B. DeBow, New Orleans, 1860. Available online at

Editor, “The New California Poet”, Appleton’s Journal, Vol. 6, Issue 132, Pp. 416-417. D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1871. Available online at moa-idx?notisid-ACW8433-1332APPL.

Juda, Fanny, excerpted from “California Filibusters: A History of their Expeditions into Hispanic America”, The Grizzly Bear Vol. XXI, No. 4, Whole No. 142. Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, California, February 1919. Available online at walker.html.

Monroe, James, excerpted from “7th Annual Message to Congress”. James M. Monroe, December 2, 1823. Available online at

New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp., “William Walker”, Great Characters of New Orleans. Available online at

Bibliography (cont.)

O’Sullivan, John, “Our Manifest Destiny”, United States Magazine and Democratic Review. Available online at

Smith, Michael, “Torch of Freedom”, Complete Costa Rica. Available online at library/crinfo/juansa.htm.

Stevens, Peter, “The Black Bean Lottery”, What If.... . Available online at AmericanHistory/articles/1997/1097_text.htm

Central American History, Website,…...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Alice Walker

...Alice Walker: The Cost of Her Fame Professor Writers often have a way of awakening people’s inner thoughts; Alice Walker is one of those writers. Many people have been touched by her work, feelings rekindled and relationships restored. Walker’s dreams lead her to many new beginnings and sorrows. Walker’s greatest lost would be her most cherished bond – family. Alice Walker was born in Georgia, on February 9, 1944. Her father was a sharecropper and her mother was a maid. When Walker was eight, her brother accidently shot her in the eye with a BB gun. Unable to get medical treatment, she became blind in one eye and developed a scar. This accident left her feeling unattractive. She became withdrawn and turned to writing. The scar was removed when she was 14, which opened up her world from isolation. She became voted Most Popular, Queen of her Senior Class, and Valedictorian. She attended Spellman College, where Professor Howard Zin, a civil rights activist, influenced her. She transferred to Sarah Lawrence College, where she met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After graduating college, she married Melvyn Roseman Leventhal, a Jewish Civil Right activist. They had a daughter named Rebecca. Walker said her daughter was a “living, breathing, and mixed-race embodiment of the new America that they were trying to forge” (Driscoll, 2008). Walker is an advocate for the unheard and overlooked. She is an activist, often involved with organizations, Code Pink and Women for......

Words: 882 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Chief Walkara and the Walker War

...Chief Walkara and the Walker War Chief Walkara was one of the greatest Indian chiefs in Utah history. He was feared and reveared by many. Although he was not born of the great chiefs he became a great chief of the Ute Indians because he was a wise and powerful leader. He was a friend and foe to the Mormon pioneers and led his people to war against them. Unfortunately the Indians of Utah did not keep the same records as the pioneers did, which makes it more difficult to get both sides of the story. The purpose of this paper is to present the facts of the war and the famous chief and let the reader form their own opinion of the famous Indian chief. Chief Walkara There is no exact date of birth for Chief Walkara, but some sources say he was born between the years of 1808 and 1815 in the a Timpoanogos village on the Spanish Fork River.[1] Walkara was born of Ute heritage to a man who was the head of a divided Ute clan, and to a woman who was one of many of the Ute leaders’ wives. One explorer wrote that Walkara had thirty brothers of which four were from the same mother; his brothers were Arapeen, San Pitch, Ammon and Tabinaw (Tabby).[2] There is no information on the number of sisters he had, however knowing there were thirty brothers there must have been some sisters mixed in there somewhere. After meeting Walker, Thomas L. Kane wrote about his appearance and personality, ‘… a fine figure of a man, in the prime of life. He excels in various......

Words: 3986 - Pages: 16

Premium Essay

William Wells Brown

...William Wells Brown and His Contributions to Society William Wells Brown and His Contributions to Society Martin Luther King, Jr. Booker T. Washington. Harriet Tubman. These African-Americans have become household names and their contributions to our nation cannot be overestimated. However, there are many other African-Americans who made important contributions to society whose names are often overlooked in the history books. For example, William Wells Brown was an African American writer, reformer, and abolitionist. William Wells Brown was born near Lexington, Kentucky in 1814. His father was George Higgins, a white plantation owner, but his mother was a black slave. "My mother's name was Elizabeth. She had seven children, Solomon, Leander, Benjamin, Joseph, Millford, Elizabeth, and myself. No two of us were children of the same father" (Brown 13). George Higgins was a physician who owned a large farming plantation. His plantation primarily focused on the milling, selling, and farming of hemp and tobacco. Of the forty slaves Higgins owned, twenty-five were field-hands and were overseen by a man named Grove Cook (Farrison 298-314). Brown served his master as a house slave essentially from the time he was born until the day he escaped. As a house slave, he was treated marginally better than the field workers in ways such as being better fed and clothed, not to mention that a house slave did not endure nearly as much grueling physical labor as a field worker (Osofsky......

Words: 3293 - Pages: 14

Premium Essay

William Carlos Williams

...The British American Conversion American writer William Carlos Williams widely recognized for a frugal use of lexicon stands apart as one of the most significant forces of twentieth-century poetry. A myriad of ingredients, including people, experiences, and circumstances, combined to influence Williams’ poetry and prose. Williams’ writing, along with that of many of the emerging American Modernist poets, is also considered to be a reaction to the verbose poetry and prose he had been exposed to growing up. “The ‘New Poetry,’ as it was called, was largely a revolt against the Romanticism of the previous decades” (Scott 18). In addition, Williams’ poetry was inspired by societal and cultural changes occurring during the early twentieth century. William Carlos Williams led the way into an Americanized style of poetry, diverging from the grandiloquent manner of European writers, to create a form of modernist poetry that remains as relevant today as it did when it was written. The essence of William Carlos Williams’ innovative style of writing derives from his remarkably plebian upbringing. Born in 1883 to an English father and Puerto Rican mother in Rutherford, New Jersey, Williams was exposed to art, literature, and the Bible by his family. His father and mother instilled in him a sense of idealism and moral perfectionism that terrified Williams. In 1904 Williams wrote “I never did and never will do a premeditated bad deed in my life,” (Williams Carlo Williams, Poetry......

Words: 1267 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Mary Walker

...MARY E. WALKER By: Rebecca Leadership March 2, 2013 I chose Mary Edwards Walker as my leader for this final project. I have always enjoyed reading a little bit of military history and I always look for stories about people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty or went against the grain. In my opinion, she really set the bar high for other women to follow, and I find her to be an exemplary leader and role model for other women in the business world. Mary Walker was born on November 26, 1832 in Oswego, New York (Unknown, Women in History ). She can accredit her leadership style and personality to her father, Alvah. Her father was a farmer, abolitionist, and a self-taught doctor. During this time, most women did not attend school or work outside the home, but because Mary’s father believed that women should be well educated, he built the first schoolhouse in Oswego on their land known as the Bunker Hill Farm (Unknown, Women in History ). In addition, this farm served as a “station” in the Underground Railroad system that assisted southern slaves to freedom—mainly from western New York into Canada (D. L. Walker 29-30) . Alvah also believed that women’s clothing was too tight and because his daughters had to help on the farm, he prohibited them from wearing the traditional clothing and corsets (Unknown, Women in History ). When Mary turned 18, she spent two years at the Falley Seminary where she was taught Mathematics, Philosophy, Grammar, and...

Words: 2254 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Alice Walker

...2013 Alice Walker Section 1 Biography According to Michael Mayer, Alice Walker, one of the best-known and most highly respected writers in the United States, was born in Eatonton, Georgia. She was the eighth and last child of Willie Lee and Minnie Lou Grant Walker. Her parents were sharecroppers, and money was not always available as needed. At the tender age of eight, Walker lost sight of one eye when one of her older brothers shot her with a BB gun by accident. This left her in somewhat a depression, and she secluded herself from the other children. Walker felt like she was no longer a little girl because of the traumatic experience she had undergone, and she was filled with shame because she thought she was unpleasant to look at. During this seclusion from other kids of her age, Walker began to write poems. Hence, her career as a writer began. Walker found the love of her life in 1967, a white activist civil rights lawyer named Mel Leventhal, and they married him in 1967. A year later she gave birth to their daughter, Rebecca. It was not until she began teaching that her writing career really took off. She began teaching at Jackson State, then Tougaloo, and finally at Wellesley College. Walker was involved in the Civil Rights Movement and spoke for the women’s movement, the anti-apartheid movement, for the anti-nuclear movement, and against female genital mutilation. She also started her own publishing company: “The Wild Trees Press”, in 1984. Walker......

Words: 2381 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

Alice Walker

...Alice Walker: An African American Author Alice Malsenior Walker was born on February 9, 1944 in a neighboring community of Eatonton, Georgia to parents of Wille Lee Walker and Minnie Lou Tallulah Grant Walker. In honor of her maternal great-grandmother, Walker changed her middle name to Tallulah-Kate. She was born into a poor sharecropper family, and the youngest of eight children. Even though poor, her family was rich in perspective and kindness. Walker learned to value the beauty in nature from her parents and siblings. Her family also nourished walker’s artistic desires, which included music and painting along with writing. Walker was especially close to her mother, Minnie Lou Walker, whose was love of beauty and legendary gardener. Walker experienced many difficulties in her life, but she overcome her difficulties. Also, Walker pursued many interesting works in her life. Alice Walker is an African American author that my classmates and others would be interested in learning about. First, Walker unforgettable childhood accident happened when she was eight years old. Walker older brother, Curtis, accidentally shot her in the eye with a BB gun, which developed her right eye blind and left her with a white scar. After her accident, Walker believed that she was ugly and became very ashamed of herself. Because of her noticeable scar in her right eye, she became an easy target for the other children in her school who teased her cruelly. Psychologically, Walker grew more focus......

Words: 594 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Bert Williams

...Bert Williams Biography Egbert Austin Williams, better known as Bert Williams, was born on November 12th 1874 in Nassau, Bahamas. At the age of ten, Bert Williams and his parents went to New York City. From New York City, Bert Williams and his parents moved to Riverside, California, where Bert attended and graduated from Riverside High School. Soon following his graduation Bert’s father became very ill, which forced Bert to abandon his civil engineering studies to help earn a living. Bert started singing minstrel ditties in Cafes around San Francisco and collecting the little money people gave. Williams was struggling to provide for himself and his family, fortunately Williams met George Walker, another African American, who was also struggling to make a living. In 1895 he and George Walker auditioned and became a very popular vaudeville team. In 1902, Williams wrote and produced an all-African American musical show In Dahomey, where Williams and Walker appeared with great success. He continued to write similar shows like Abyssinia (1906), Bandanna Land (1907), and others until the death of Walker in 1909. In that year Williams joined the Ziegfeld Follies, and continued to write songs and other materials. In the December of 1921, Williams received good reviews from Under the Bamboo Tree, but the show did not. Right after, Williams developed pneumonia, but he didn’t want to miss any performances, because he knew very well that he was the only thing that kept the show......

Words: 724 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Cj Walker

...NAME: Madam C.J. Walker (birth name Sarah Breedlove) DATE OF BIRTH: December 23, 1867 PLACE OF BIRTH: Delta, Louisiana DATE OF DEATH: May 25, 1919 PLACE OF DEATH: Irvington-on-Hudson, New York FAMILY BACKGROUND: Sarah Breedlove, who later became known as Madam C. J. Walker, was born into a former-slave family to parents Owen and Minerva Breedlove. She had one older sister, Louvenia and brothers Alexander, James, Solomon and Owen, Jr. Her parents had been slaves on Robert W. Burney's Madison Parish farm which was a battle-staging area during the Civil War for General Ulysses S. Grant and his Union troops. She became an orphan at age 7 when her parents died. To escape a yellow fever epidemic and failing cotton crops, the ten year old Sarah and her sister moved across the river to Vicksburg in 1878 to obtain work. At the age of fourteen, Sarah married Moses McWilliams to escape her sister's abusive husband. They had a daughter, Lelia (later known as A'Lelia Walker, a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance). When Lelia was only two years old, McWilliams died. Sarah's second marriage to John Davis August 11, 1894 failed and ended sometime in 1903. She married for the third time in January, 1906 to newspaper sales agent, Charles Joseph Walker; they divorced in 1912. ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Madam Walker was an entrepreneur who built her empire developing hair products for black women. She claims to have built her company on an actual dream where a large......

Words: 1005 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Alice Walker

...Anitra Hatcher Academic and Professional Success November 2, 2014 Alice Walker After conducting research on several of my favorite authors, I selected Alice Walker’s life and works as the focus of this paper. Walker's accomplishments are substantial. Her novel, The Color Purple, won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book award for fiction. She has authored many other critically acclaimed works, and is recognized as a leading author in the literary world. As I began to dig deeper, however, I found the real reason that I chose to concentrate on this individual. Alice Walker is an African American woman who expresses herself and her life experiences in her writing. I feel like I am connected to the themes and characters Walker develops in her stories. I feel like I am connected to Walker herself. I have been broken in some kind of way or another. I have been abused physically and mentally. Walker has not allowed her struggles to get in the way of her success or happiness. I chose to write about her because she is a woman who faced profound struggles in her young life. She came close to giving up because of a childhood accident and an abortion. Alice Walker was a fierce and determined woman who stayed committed to her goals. Alice Walker faced many challenges. She was one of seven children. She was born in poverty to sharecropper parents on February 9, 1944. Her father was the grandson of slaves. Her father did not want her to get an education in fear......

Words: 1158 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Eflection on: Robert F. Williams, “Black Power, ” and the Roots of the African American Freedom Struggle

...the civil rights movement was not all about Dr King and nonviolence. The civil rights movement did not start from the heroes whose names we all now know, it succeed because so many ordinary people like Robert Williams were feed up of the injustice and one day decided to change their lives by fighting for what they believed in. The beginning of the article that was about Robert Williams’s child hood was very heart breaking, through that little introduction of him, I was able to understand why he did most of what he did while fighting for freedom. Robert Williams was a veteran of World War II, he is a figure that most history books have left out, and he did not preach violence but was willing to use a gun in order to defend women, children, and the community. I was a bit shocked to discover that he practiced self-defense before Malcom x Besides elevating Williams to his rightful place in civil rights history alongside Malcom X and others Timothy B Tyson's article challenges the concept that Black Power and armed self-defense emerged only after 1965. Rather, Tyson points out that the roots of Black Power stretch further back and often worked "in tandem and in tension" with non-violent direct action. This is an important reconceptualization of a critical era in American history. As a matter of course, Historians have depicted the civil rights movement as a nonviolent call on the morals of America and following the Black Power as a violent disapproval of what was considered......

Words: 375 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Walker Books

...MAB Lecture Illustration: Walker Books Profit Planning Exercise Walker Books1 Along with his brothers, Ramsay Walker ‘inherited’ Walker Books (Walkers) from his father. Neither Ramsay nor his brothers had worked full-time in the business. He has spent the last few months becoming familiar with the business. Exhibit 1 highlights Walker and Company’s organizational structure. Ramsay held meetings with the senior staff as well as studying the state of the industry, in general. Ramsay knew the industry was undergoing change: larger publishing houses getting larger through acquisitions and dominating the market; the rapid impact of technology through developments like e-readers; and the financial difficulties confronting some of the major retailers such as Borders2. Moreover, the size of the United States market seems to have stalled with total US sales estimated at $23.9b in 2009 compared to $24.3b in 2008; while over the last seven years the industry had experienced a compound annual growth rate of 1.1%3. As a result of his investigations Ramsay developed the corporate strategy and operational plans as follows: 1. The need for a new overall corporate strategy to drive the business combined with a small number of key financial targets 2. The need to develop a number of targeted business strategies to facilitate the execution of the corporate strategy 3. A better planning and budgeting system to facilitate financial analysis of alternate action plans, that when...

Words: 1017 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

The Life of Jane Walker

...Emily Allen HIST 111 October 5, 2015 Diaries written by Jane Arnold-Walker: 1611-1667 The Life of Jane Arnold-Walker: Growing Up in the 1600’s #1 The Purpose I have decided to start a diary that will be passed down from generation to generation within my family line. This diary is a compilation of little letters I used to write myself telling me what happened that week or month. Now that I am old and sick I want to have something that I can pass down through generations. I want not only my children, but their children, and their children, and so on to have something to remember me and the life I lived during the 1600’s. Within my diary will be highlights of my early life and where I came from, my young adult years and work I did in order to survive, my immediate family, and accounts I have on important events that happened during my life. Years from now, future generations will have written evidence of what life was like for someone living in the 1600’s. I only hope that one of my children will take on the responsibility of finishing this diary after I have passed so that it will have a complete beginning and end. #2 Where I Come From I was born August 13, 1611 to the parents of James and Anne Arnold in the colony, Virginia. Both my mother and father were considered highly educated at the time. My father was an investor and was part of the first expedition to Jamestown in hopes of finding gold and exotic crops. He was ordered to go by King James and the Virginia......

Words: 2613 - Pages: 11

Free Essay

Alice Walker

...Morrell Professor Richard Raleigh ENC 1102 (02): Composition and Literature 12 November 2015 Alice Walker From Evelyn C. White’s “A Life” Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award, dedicated her life to establishing a literary canon of African American women writers and to encouraging the “survival whole” of all women. She has actively sought to win recognition for literary “foremothers” such as Zora Neale Hurston and to place their contributions within the fabric of her own artistry. Walker was the valedictorian of her high school class, and when she was graduated in 1961, she was offered a scholarship to Spelman College in Atlanta. After traveling to Africa in 1964. Walker returned to the United States and entered Sarah Lawrence College. She soon discovered that she was pregnant, and just as quickly she found herself depressed and on the verge of suicide. Walker made a decision to end the pregnancy instead of her life and subsequently wrote her first published short story, “To Hell with Dying.” She also produced Once (1965), her first published collection of poems, during her years at Sarah Lawrence. Alice entered the world before the midwife’s arrival February 9, 1944(White 12), into a family of sharecroppers near Eatonton, Georgia. Her father, Willie Lee Walker, was the grandson of slaves. Alice birth marked the first time that Mr. and Mrs. Walker were able to pay the midwife for her assistance (White 13) Walker’s relationship with her father became...

Words: 604 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay


...David Walker was born in 1796 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Having witnessed slavery and racism. David walker was a writer and also an activist. Walker's father was a slave and his mother was free so he inherited his mother's liberated status. However, being free did not keep him from witnessing his people being mistreated by their slave owners. At some later point David walker said he couldn’t be in a place where he was always being offended so he left Wilmington between 1815 and 1820. He then traveled the country spending time in Charleston, South Carolina, which had a large population of free African Americans and then he settled in Boston by 1825. In 1829 Walker published a pamphlet entitled. Walker's Appeal which had 4 parts titled: Together with a Preamble, to the Colored Citizens of the World, but in Particular Those of the United States of America. In his appeal Walker used example within the Bible and the Declaration of Independence to argue against slavery and also discrimination .Two more editions of Walker's Appeal were printed in 1830 Walker distributed the Appeal through friends and contacts traveling to the South who carried copies with them. He also send copies through the regular mail. David Walker even taught thousands of slaves how to read and write. During that time it was a crime to teach African Americans how to read; Southern authorities were alarmed by the Appeal, and did everything in their power to suppress it. In its pages, Walker describes the......

Words: 809 - Pages: 4