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Wed, 02.18.1931

Toni Morrison, Writer born

Toni Morrison

*This date marks the birth of Toni Morrison in 1931. She was a Black writer and educator, whose writings often dealt with the Black experience and celebrated the Black community.

Morrisons' literature features mythic elements, sharp observations, compassion, and poetic language and is often concerned with the relationship between the individual and society. From Lorain, Ohio, Morrison, christened Chloe Anthony Wofford, grew up during the Great Depression in a poor and close-knit family. In 1949 she entered Howard University, became interested in theater, and joined the Howard University Players. Morrison went on to earn an M.A. in English at Cornell.

She taught at Texas Southern University for two years and then at Howard University until 1964.  She met and married Harold Morrison an editor at Random House and began to write fiction. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970 and attracted immediate attention. Sula followed this. Morrison's next novel, Song of Solomon 1977 was hailed as a major literary achievement. Tar Baby was equally well received. 1988’s Beloved, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is regarded by many as Morrison's most successful work.

She was the first Black woman to receive the Nobel Literature Prize, awarded in 1993. The Swedish Academy hailed her use of language and her "visionary force."

Toni Morrisons' seventh novel, Paradise, 1998, focuses on an all-Black town and a violent attack that a group of men makes on a small, all-female community nearby. Recently she has written The Book of Mean People, and The Big Box, 2002.  Toni Morrison died on the night of August 5th, 2019 at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. She was 88.

Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York
ISBN 0-926019-61-9

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