Born in Birmingham, Alabama, to a middle class black family that moved to New Orleans a decade later, Margaret Walker first enrolled at New Orleans University. Then she met poet Langston Hughes, who encouraged her writing and advised her to go north to complete her education, which she did at Northwestern University. It was in Chicago, in 1936, that she met novelist and poet Richard Wright, about whom she would publish a critical biography fifty-two years later. She became a teacher and a novelist and continued publishing poetry after the dramatic success of the poems of For My People (1942).
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