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Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and Beloved.
James Baldwin - Later Years (1:45)
Toni Morrison's novels include "The Bluest Eye," "Sula," and "Beloved."
Author Alice Walker began writing early in life. When an injury to her left eye afforded her the chance to go to College, Walker began to work towards her goal of becoming a professional writer.
While at Spelman College, Alice Walker turned down a scholarship to study abroad in Paris in order to go to Mississippi to pursue civil rights equality.
After writing about a variety of controversial issues and making his voice heard through several publications, James Baldwin.
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Born on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio, Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, editor and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue and richly detailed black characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and Beloved. Morrison has won nearly every book prize possible. She has also been awarded honorary degrees.
"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power."
"Everywhere, everywhere, children are the scorned people of the earth."
"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."
"When people say they don't have time to write with small children, well, for me it was the opposite. I didn't write anything before I had them. They gave me that."
"Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all."
"The thought that leads me to contemplate with dread the erasure of other voices, of unwritten novels, poems whispered or swallowed for fear of being overheard by the wrong people, outlawed languages flourishing underground, essayists' questions challenging authority never being posed, unstaged plays, canceled films—that thought is a nightmare. As though a whole universe is being described in invisible ink."
Born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio, Toni Morrison was the second oldest of four children. Her father, George Wofford, worked primarily as a welder, but held several jobs at once to support the family. Her mother, Ramah, was a domestic worker. Morrison later credited her parents with instilling in her a love of reading, music, and folklore.
Living in an integrated neighborhood, Morrison did not become fully aware of racial divisions until she was in her teens. "When I was in first grade, nobody thought I was inferior. I was the only black in the class and the only child who could read," she later told a reporter from The New York Times. Dedicated to her studies, Morrison took Latin in school, and read many great works of European literature. She graduated from Lorain High School with honors in 1949.
At Howard University, Morrison continued to pursue her interest in literature. She majored in English, and chose the classics for her minor. After graduating from Howard in 1953, Morrison continued her education at Cornell University. She wrote her thesis on the works of Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner, and completed her master's degree in 1955. She then moved to Texas to teach English at Texas Southern University.
In 1957, Morrison returned to Howard University to teach English. There she met Harold Morrison, an architect originally from Jamaica. The couple got married in 1958 and welcomed their first child, son Harold, in 1961. After the birth of her son, Morrison joined a writers group that met on campus. She began working on her first novel with the group, which started out as a short story.
Morrison decided to leave Howard in 1963. After spending the summer traveling with her family in Europe, she returned to the United States with her son. Her husband, however, had decided to move back to Jamaica. At the time, Morrison was pregnant with their second child. She moved back home to live with her family in Ohio before the birth of son Slade in 1964. The following year, she moved with her sons to Syracuse, New York, where she worked for a textbook publisher as a senior editor. Morrison later went to work for Random House, where she edited works for such authors as Toni Cade Bambara and Gayl Jones.
Morrison's first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. It told the story of a young African-American girl who believes her incredibly difficult life would be better if only she had blue eyes. The book received warm reviews, but it didn't sell well.
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