Alice Walker: Finding Inner Peace and Compassion Through Hardship

How participating in the Civil Rights Movement led Alice Walker to find inner peace.

| October 2014

  • Finding inner peace is much like a new beginning, or as some might call it, a "Human Sunrise."
    Photo by Fotolia/crispinmx
  • “The Cushion in the Road” by Alice Walker is a reflection of Walker's journey of finding inner peace during the Civil Rights Movement.
    Cover courtesy The New Press

The Cushion in the Road (The New Press, 2013), by Alice Walker, visits subjects such as racism, Palestinian solidarity, and Cuba in the narrative of her personal journey of political awakening and spiritual insight. In the following excerpt, from the chapter "Human Sunrise," Walker reflects on her experience finding inner peace during the Civil Rights movement in a letter to a university’s graduating class.

June 2009

"Someone told me once
that Earth is
the only planet that has

The only planet that has mornings!

This is an intriguing thought: and, how would they know? The poet in me loves it, however, because it sees the metaphor of new beginnings, optimism, rising to the occasion (in Mexico a friend calls sunset "the occasion"), and getting on with the new day. I also appreciate the notion of our specialness, as a planet, whether it is accurate or not.

Dear Graduating Class of Naropa,