Poet, novelist, University professor. Born– July 7, 1915, Birmingham. Married– Firnist James Alexander, June 13, 1943.  Children– Four. Education– Northwestern University, B.A., 1915; University of Iowa, M.A., 1940, Ph.D., 1965. Worked for the Federal Writers Project, 1936-39.  Taught at Livingstone College (North Carolina), 1941-1942, 1945, West Virginia State College, 1942-1943, and Jackson State College 1949-79. Founder and director of the Institute for the Study of History, Life and Culture of Black Peoples at Jackson State College, 1968-79. Contributed broadsides, articles and papers to periodicals. Member of the Modern Language Association, National Education Association, National Council of Teachers of English, and American Association of University Professors.  Winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, 1942. Received honorary doctorates from Northwestern (1974), Rust College (1974), Dennison University (1974) and Morgan State University (1974).  Named professor emerita at Jackson State on her retirement.  Died November 30, 1998.


Directory of American Scholars, 1974; Who’s Who Among Black Americans, 1980. Contemporary Authors online.


A Brief Introduction to Southern Literature. Jackson, Miss.; Literary Seminar, Mississippi Arts Festival, 1977.

For My People (verse). New Haven; Yale University Press, 1942.

How I Wrote Jubilee. Chicago; Third World Press, 1972.

Jubilee, a Civil War Novel. Iowa City; University of Iowa Press, 1955.

Prophets For a New Day (poems). Detroit; Broadside Press, 1970.

October Journey (poems). Detroit; Broadside Press, 1970.

How I wrote Jubilee and Other Essays on Life and Literature. New York; Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1989.


A Poetic Equation; Converstaions Between Nikki Giovanni and Margaret Walker. Washington; Howard University Press, 1974.

Richard Wright, Daemonic Genius; a Portrait of the Man, A Critical Look at his Work. New York; Warner, 1988.

This is My Century; New and Collected Poems. Athens, Ga.; University of Georgia Press, 1989.