"In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens" by Alice Walker is a collection of autobiographical short stories that focus on Walker's understanding of womanist theory and her experience during the Civil Rights Movement. The short stories are broken into three parts: Part One focuses on black women writers, Part Two is about the Civil Rights Movement and Part Three is focused on Walker's advice for future generations.
Part One of "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens" is written in chronological order. Together, the stories detail Walker's experience trying to find writers who wrote about issues of importance to her. Walker first introduces the reader to authors Flannery O'Connor, Jean Toomer and Rebecca Jackson. She focuses on these writers' early works and their relationship to the womanist movement. Walker then describes the work of Zora Neale Hurston, which she states is closely aligned with her own writing.
Part Two is a detailed account of Walker's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. She talks about attending protests and about the contribution of Martin Luther King Jr. Walker also questions the purpose of the movement and whether or not she and other protesters were successful in their mission. Walker concludes this section with a summary of an interview she conducted with Coretta King and with her own thoughts regarding how white and black Americans can work together to achieve equality for all minorities.
The final section is a summary of the previous two sections. Walker references authors she previously introduced to the reader as part of her attempt to outline ways in which future generations of black men and women can have equal standing in society..