On February 9, 1944, in the small farming community of Eatonton and Minnie Grant gave birth to their eighth and final child, a girl, they named Alice. Prize novelist Alice Walker is best known for her stories about the life of African American women, their struggle with society for survival, racial, sexual and inexpensive equality and spiritual unity. She writes through her personal experiences. Most critics consider her works as feminist, but Walker describes herself as a "womanist"," showing appreciation of women and their abilities no matter what the color of their skin is.
In the article of Our Mother's Garden, she talks about her search of the African American women's suppressed talent, of the artistic skills and talents that they lost because of slavery and a forced way of life. Walker builds up her arguments from historical events as well as the collective experiences of African Americans, including her own. She uses these experiences to back up her arguments formed from recollections of various African American characters and events. Walker points out that a great part of her mother's and grandmothers' lives have been suppressed because of their sad, dark pasts. But all of these are not lost because somehow, these are manifested in even the smallest things that they do, and that they were also able to pass it down to the very people that they loved. .
She used to build her argument about Phillis Wheatley, a Black slave girl with a precarious health. Phillis is a poet and a writer at her owns right, but unfortunately, she wasn't able to do much with it because she was a slave. She didn't have anything for herself, and she didn't even own herself. Her futile attempts for self-expression would be washed up by forced labor and pregnancies. She lost her health, and eventually her life without fully expressing herself through her gift for poetry. .
Alice Walker used the story of Phillis to establish the understanding that indeed, African American women at that time were not allowed or didn't have the luxury of time to exercise their gifts, to hone their talents and abilities, and use them to fully express themselves.