Actual Factual Georgia: ‘Color Purple’ author born here

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Q: Was the author of the book, “The Color Purple,” born in Georgia? I think I remember hearing that at some point.

A: "The Color Purple" was published in 1982, long after author Alice Walker left her hometown of Eatonton, where she was the last of eight children born to sharecropping parents in 1944.

She has called herself a “daughter of the rural peasantry,” her Alice Walker Literary Society bio states.

One of her brothers accidently shot Walker with a BB gun in 1952, blinding her right eye and resulting in a scar.

Surgery fixed her scar when she was 14 and Walker later became valedictorian of her class at Eatonton’s segregated Butler-Baker High School.

She attended Spelman College before transferring to Sarah Lawrence College, where she graduated in 1965.

“To Hell With Dying” was published in 1967, when she was 23, and Walker has since written many books, essays and collections of poetry. “The Color Purple,” which was set in rural Georgia, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1983 and was made into a movie and Broadway play.

Walker turned 71 two months ago and much of her work and personal correspondence is housed at Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library.

“My father taught me that you have to keep records, because if you don’t, it can be said nothing happened,” she told the AP in 2009. “I took that to heart.”

Q: What are the smallest counties in Georgia by area and by population?

A: You might find it surprising that the smallest county is Georgia is home to the University of Georgia.

Athens-Clarke County is only about 121 square miles, making it the tiniest of the state’s 159 counties. By comparison, Ware County, the state’s largest county, covers 906.6 square miles.

The smallest 10 also includes: Rockdale (132.1 square miles), Clayton (144.3), Glascock (144.5), Peach (151.5), Quitman (160.9), Catoosa (162.7), Barrow (162.8), Schley (167.8) and Towns (171.9), according to UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

When it comes to people, Taliaferro County had just 1,693 residents in 2014, according to an U.S. Census Bureau estimate.

The nine other least populated counties include: Quitman (2,315), Webster (2,649), Glascock (3,053), Clay (3,102), Baker (3,255), Echols (4,003), Schley (5,163), Warren (5,520) and Stewart (5,744).

By the way, if you ever find yourself in Taliaferro County – the birthplace of Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy — it’s pronounced “Tolliver.”

Folks might look at you funny if you say it the way it’s spelled.