Although it is not clearly stated in the book, I believe that The Color Purple is first set around 1910 or 1920, and stretched to the beginning of civil rights movements, around 1950s. However, I prefer to put this work of Alice Walker by the values she brought at the time she wrote this novel, rather than the time setting. So, although the original time set is within the first half of 20th century, I think the best place to put this book is between the post-modernism and contemporary literary movement. Post-modernism is a historical period that began in the 1940s, a style of literature, philosophy, art, and architecture, or the situation of Western society in a late capitalist or post-capitalist age. Social issues as writers align with feminist & ethnic groups, are among this movement.
At the time Walker wrote The Color Purple, America has been struggling with both African-American racism and men-women discrimination and gender minority. The Color Purple is also the sign of African-American literature rising. Besides Alice Walker, Maya Angelou and Zora Neale Hurston were among the female authors that brought up the same values as The Color Purple. Their works shows the hardships of African-American women.
The story of Celie (female protagonist of this book), her hard times under the dominancy of his step father and husband, and the story of African people under the white people power truly reflect the focus of the post-modernism movement, especially the rising of African-American. As a woman, these issues are quite intriguing and emotional, so I might read other similar works, such as Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings in the future.