Toni Morrison

Feb. 18, 2005, midnight | By Adedeji Ogunfolu | 19 years, 4 months ago

Toni Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford on Feb. 18, 1931 in Lorain, Ohio. She was a precocious, young child, and in the first grade, she was the only student that could read. Her love for literature grew, and she also developed a taste for Tolstoy, Dostoyevski, Gustave Flaubert and Jane Austen.After graduating from Lorain High School, Morrison attended Howard University, where she majored in English. While there, Morrison decided to change her first name because many people could not pronounce it correctly, so she became Toni, a shortened version of her middle name. She then studied at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and received a Master's degree in 1955.

Morrison's career in writing has been distinguished and diversified. After graduating from Cornell, she was offered a job at Texas Southern University in Houston, where she taught introductory English. She then returned to Howard University in 1957 as a member of the faculty. In the fall of 1964, however, Morrison stopped teaching and took a job with Random House as an associate editor, and in 1967, she was transferred to New York and became a senior editor at Random House.

From 1976 until 1977, Morrison was a visiting lecturer at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. During this time, she was writing her famed novel "Song of Solomon," which was published in 1977. The book achieved great success, and Morrison's career began to gain noticeable momentum. It won the National Book Critic's Circle Award and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award. Morrison was also appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the National Council on the Arts. She won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988 for her next novel, "Beloved."

In 1987, Toni Morrison was named the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Council of Humanities at Princeton University, making her the first black woman writer to be a chairperson at an Ivy League University. In 1993, Toni Morrison received the Nobel Prize in Literature; she was the eighth woman and the first black woman to achieve the stellar honor.

Last updated: April 27, 2021, 1:11 p.m.

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Adedeji Ogunfolu. Adedeji Ogunfolu is now a senior. Besides working dilligently on the Silver Chips Online staff, he is an extremely enthusiastic musician. He is not ashamed to tell people that he has been to band camp, but he prefers to call it orchestra camp. He has … More »

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