Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison

Original Name Chloe Ardelia Wofford
Birth
Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio, USA
Death 5 Aug 2019 (aged 88)
Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Burial Burial Details Unknown
Memorial ID 201875354 · View Source
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Nobel Prize Laureate Author. Best known for her African American trilogy, “Beloved,” “Jazz,” and “Paradise," she was the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Born Chloe Ardelia Wofford, she became a Catholic at the age of 12 and took the baptismal name Anthony, which would lead to the nickname Toni she later used in her professional life. She graduated from Lorain High School in the racially diverse city Lorain, Ohio, and enrolled in the historically African American college Howard University in Washington, DC where she would have her first encounter with segregated buses and restaurants. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1953 and earned her Master of Arts from Cornell University in 1955. She taught at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas and Howard University before becoming an editor in 1965 for L.W. Singer, a textbook division of the publisher Random House. Two years later she transferred to New York City to become the first female African American editor of the Random House fictional division. She brought African American literature into the mainstream and promoted the work of authors like Toni Cade Bambara, Angel Davis and Gayl Jones. She published her first novel, “The Bluest Eye” in 1970, about an African American girl who longed to have blue eyes. It brought her to the attention of Robert Gottlieb, an editor at the New York publishing house Knopf, who would go on to edit most of her novels. Her second novel released in 1975, “Sula,” was nominated for the National Book Award; and her third novel “Song of Solomon” published in 1977 won the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was a main selection of the Book of the Month Club, the first novel by an African American writer to be chosen since 1940. She left publishing to devote herself to writing and to teach English at the State University of New York and Rutgers University. She published “Tar Baby” in 1983 and completed her first play, “Dreaming Emmett” about the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. Her first and most acclaimed novel of her African American trilogy, “Beloved” was published in 1987, and was based on the true life story of an African American slave, Margaret Garner. It spent twenty-five weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and was made into a movie in 1998 starring Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey. The second installment, “Jazz” was released in 1992 and followed a love triangle during the Harlem Renaissance in New York City; followed by the final book, “Paradise” in 1997 which focused on citizens in an all African American Town. She wrote four more novels, “Love” in 2003, “A Mercy” in 2008, “Home” in 2012, and her final novel, “God Help the Child” in 2015. In addition, she wrote children’s books, including “Remember” which marked the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision; published nine non-fiction works; and wrote the libretto for the opera “Margaret Garner” based on her novel, “Beloved.” She was awarded the Nobel Price for Literature in 1993 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2012. She received numerous other awards including the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, the highest award given by the United States federal government for “distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities;” the National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters; the National Humanities Medal; the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction; and the Thomas Jefferson Medal awarded by The American Philosophical Society. She held honorary doctorates from Harvard University, Oxford University, Rutgers University, and the University of Geneva in Switzerland; and was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2008.

Bio by: Apollymi


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Apollymi
  • Added: 6 Aug 2019
  • Find A Grave Memorial 201875354
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Toni Morrison (18 Feb 1931–5 Aug 2019), Find A Grave Memorial no. 201875354, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Burial Details Unknown.