On This Day in Black History :: 86 years ago a Queen was born :: Toni Morrison
Novelist, Editor, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.
Toni Morrison born Chloe Ardelia Wofford, February 18, 1931 is an American novelist, editor, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977), and Beloved (1987).
Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved. Beloved was adapted into a film of the same name (starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover) in 1998. Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.
In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. She was honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
Morrison was commissioned to write the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, first performed in 2005. On May 29, 2012, Morrison received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2016 Morrison received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.
Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio, to Ramah (née Willis) and George Wofford. She is the second of four children in a working-class family. Her parents moved to Ohio to escape southern racism and instilled a sense of heritage through telling traditional African American folktales.
She read frequently as a child; among her favorite authors were Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy. She became a Catholic at the age of 12 and received the baptismal name "Anthony", which later became the basis for her nickname "Toni".