Dem rep apologizes for quoting Alice Walker: 'I was unaware of the author’s past statements'

Dem rep apologizes for quoting Alice Walker: 'I was unaware of the author’s past statements'
© Stefani Reynolds

Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D) on Monday apologized for quoting author Alice Walker's book "The Color Purple," saying that she was "unaware" of the recent controversy over Walker's praise of an anti-Semitic author.

"Last week, in support of a fellow Congresswoman, I chose a quote from Alice Walker," Pressley tweeted. "Like many, the Color Purple has carried deep meaning for me and I have evoked Walker’s words about 'furious dancing' in the past."

"Unfortunately, I was unaware of the author’s past statements," Pressley wrote. "I fully condemn and denounce anti-Semitism, prejudice and bigotry in all their forms - and the hateful actions they embolden. I appreciate my friends, including my brothers and sisters in the Jewish community, who brought these statements to my attention." 

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Pressley earlier this month tweeted one of Walker's quotes from "The Color Purple" in order to support fellow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSanders wishes Ocasio-Cortez happy birthday Democrat launches primary challenge to Ocasio-Cortez Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Washington Times after story on her 'high-dollar hairdo' MORE (D-N.Y.), who was being mocked for an old video of her dancing. 

" 'Hard times require furious dancing,' " Presley tweeted, citing Walker. "#therevolutionwillbetelevised & there will be a soul train line too. So, dance on freedom riders, social justice warriors, disruptors, resisters, persisters, activists & agitators. #AOCDances."  

Walker last month faced a barrage of criticism for her endorsement of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist, which led to media investigations unearthing poems she had posted to her website promoting anti-Jewish sentiments.

Walker in one of the poems on her website, posted in 2017, claims that the Talmud, a Jewish text, promotes the idea that non-Jewish people are "meant to be slaves of Jews." 

"The Color Purple," which focuses on the lives of African-American women in the South in the 1930s, won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It was published in 1982.