Toni Morrison is a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, recipient of the Nobel Prize World Changing Women - Toni Morrison 1in Literature and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford in 1931 in Ohio, where her parents had fled to try and escape the racism of the south. Her name, Toni, comes from her baptismal name, which she acquired at age 12 after converting to Catholicism. She attended Howard University where she got her BA in English and followed up with Cornell University where she got a Master of Arts. She later taught English at her alma mater, Howard, as well as Texas Southern University, State University of New York and Rutgers University.

World Changing Women - Toni Morrison 2Toni was married for six years and had two children. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970, which she wrote while teaching and raising her children. It tackles the issues of the standards of beauty and challenges why we always look to whiteness for beauty. It was the start of something truly magnificent, a lifetime more of writing and producing literature that impacted the world. Several of her novels have won national awards. Her book, Beloved, is probably her most famous work as it was adapted into a movie of the same name and starred Oprah. It was hailed as the best piece of American fiction published in the last 25 years as of 2006.

Toni has fought against racism, both with her astonishing personality and her
literary works. She is unapologetic about the content of her books despite backlash and criticisms, always forging ahead. With a writing career that has spanned more than 40 years, she is truly someone amazing to behold. I haven’t yet read any of her books, but they’ve been immediately added onto my to-read list.

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-Erin