Alice Walker Driving Tour

Alice Walker, best known for her novel The Color Purple, was born in Eatonton, Georgia in 1944.  She was the daughter of African American sharecroppers.

At four-years-old Alice’s mother enrolled her in school to keep her out of the cotton fields. Alice’s teachers recognized her literary talents, and within four years Alice retreated completely into books and writing.

Alice graduated as valedictorian of her high school class in Eatonton, Georgia. She continued her education at Spelman College, and then transferred to Sarah Lawrence College for her junior and senior years.

After graduation, she worked for the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi.  A strong writer, her powerful novels and poetry reflected her life-long experiences, creating strong awareness of racial inequality and social justice.

Alice resides in northern California and continues her writing and speaking engagements, still today. To learn more about Alice’s life and works, click here.

Joel Chandler Harris Driving Tour

Joel Chandler Harris is best known for preserving the Brer Rabbit folktales in the Uncle Remus series. Harris was born in Barnes Inn and Tavern in downtown Eatonton, Georgia in 1845.

As a student, he was teased by his classmates for his stutter, red hair, and short stature. At 15 years-old Harris became a typesetter for The Countryman newspaper and worked at Turnwold Plantation, just outside of Eatonton. Plantation owner, Joseph Turner, tutored Harris in literature and journalism, while the enslaved peoples taught him the life lessons rooted in the Brer Rabbit tales.

Harris worked for newspapers across the state, eventually making his way as an editor at the Atlanta Constitution.  His writings were praised for their humor, and he became a world-renowned author.

Harris published 185 stories during his lifetime. He passed away on July 3, 1908 at his home, The Wren’s Nest, in Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more about Joel’s life and works, click here.

Amanda Vining photo

Amanda holds a BS in Biology from Georgia College & State University. She began her career as an educator with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. After leaving the DNR, Amanda became a formal educator with Baldwin County School System and Jasper County School System. Amanda began her museum career at the Museum of Arts and Sciences (MAS) in Macon, Georgia, where she served as Curator of Environmental Science
(2011-2020). While at MAS, Amanda developed a love for sharing the world around us with the many students who visited on school field trips. During her time as Curator of Environmental Science, Amanda launched a storytime
program for preschool children.

Since 2020, Amanda has been serving Georgia Writers Museum as a volunteer on the Education Committee. Amanda has brought her love of sharing stories with students by launching Peaches’ Reading Pasture. As Museum Manager, Amanda looks forward to serving the community and helping to inspire those within our community to put words to paper and share their stories.

Amanda was born and raised in nearby Shady Dale, Georgia. Her husband, Rodney, is a native of Eatonton, and they currently reside in Putnam County. They have three children.