Rebecca Walker
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EXISTING BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE
© RaceRelations.about.com, November 06, 2000


     
 

Rebecca Walker has lived a colorful life. At 30, she's a graduate of Yale, the founder of a non-profit organization, a writer, an activist, an entrepreneur and one of Time magazine's fifty future leaders of America. Add to that growing up the biracial daughter of author Alice Walker and you've got the makings of a serious autobiography.

Enter "Black, White and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self," Walker's most recent accomplishment and her first novel, first out in paperback Jan. 2002.

"Black, White and Jewish" chronicles Walker's upbringing as the daughter of a white Jewish civil rights lawyer and a black activist author who by all accounts married and created a child in 1960s Mississippi as an act of activism as much as their love for one another. (Interracial marriage remained illegal in Mississippi until 1987, and could have resulted in a ten-year prison sentence for the couple.) The elder Walker told CNN in a recent interview, "Part of the lure of our marriage was that it was illegal." But Rebecca seems to take her raison d'etre in stride.

Walker was born in 1969 in Jackson, Mississippi. Alice Walker and Rebecca's father, Mel Leventhal split when Rebecca was in the third grade, leaving Rebecca splitting her time between her father's Mississippi home, with her white, Jewish step-mother and her mother's free-wheeling lifestyle and homes in Brooklyn, San Francisco's Haight Ashbury, Washington, D.C. and the Bronx. In the novel, she talks of struggling with her own self-identity against the multitude of settings and her desperate attempts to fit in.

After graduating Cum Laude from Yale University in 1992, Walker founded Third Wave Direct Action Corporation, a national non-profit organization devoted to fostering leadership and activism in young women. In 1996, she launched Kokobar, "a Cyberlounge/Expresso Bar/Bookstore" in Brooklyn aimed at bringing education and internet technology to urban multicultural neighborhoods. In between, she has spent time as a contributor to such publications as Essence, Mademoiselle, The New York Daily News, SPIN, Harper's, Sassy, The Black Scholar. She has also been featured in The New York Times, The Chicago Times, The Atlanta Constitution, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Esquire, and U.S. News & World Report, and has had guest spots on CNN, MTV, The Joan Rivers Show and Charlie Rose.

Rebecca is hesitant to exist in her Pulitzer Prize-winning mother's shadow with her first literary offering. (Alice Walker, herself, has published a novel dealing with her interracial marriage entitled "The Way Forward is with a Broken Heart," an excerpt of which is available at CNN.com.) She even refused an interview with the media giant in an effort to distance herself from her mother's recent release.

Early reviews of the book indicate that Rebecca will have no trouble standing on her own as an author.

Standing on her own as herself, however, is something she's already learned to accomplish:

"It all comes to this...I exist somewhere between black and white, family and friend."

 

 

Rebecca Walker - All Rights Reserved 2007. http://www.rebeccawalker.com - Rebecca @ MySpace