Author: Maurine Philpot, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Journal 2 (June 1932) is a portion of a 5” x 8” notepad, missing the front and back covers. Written when Margaret Walker was sixteen years old, the journal entries reflect her spiritual yearnings and journeys. She is desperately seeking understanding from her parents and siblings as well as a more intimate relationship with her Christian faith. She outlines her spiritual creed and relates her growing sexual/sensual awareness. The Journal ends one month before her 17th birthday in 1932.
Notebooks or folders prepared to keep on-going journals
This lesson will help open students’ minds (and hearts) to the exploration of self through personal journaling and self-reflection, inspired by Margaret Walker’s style found in the Digital Archives Project.
chastisement influence earnest
permeate ambitious immersed
devout ardent endurance
obligation unrestrained tumult
perplexing adapt consecrate
For example, when she says “he must be clean,” what does she mean by the word “clean”? Discuss past and present meanings.
In her description, Walker may have meant “well-groomed and nicely dressed; appreciating cleanliness and order in his own grooming as well as his home and surroundings.”
Today, “clean” can also mean “free from attachment to any other party, such as an ex-wife, children, and the law.”
The teacher should decide how to create incentives and opportunities for the students to write. Although teachers may wish to develop a grading rubric for this lesson, they should be wary of giving poor grades that might deter students from writing on their own.