Birthday - February 18, 1931
Who is Toni Morrison?
Toni Morrison is an accomplished novelist, editor, and professor, and her writings are usually noted for their African American characters. Her novels are renowned for their epic themes and interesting choice of words. Some of her best-selling novels are Sula, the Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Beloved, Love, A Mercy, and Jazz.
She is also a winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a Nobel Prize as a novelist. Aside from the array of book-world accolades, she has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
5 Facts about Toni Morrison
- Toni Morrison is her pen name. Her original name is Chloe Anthony Wofford. After her divorce, she never remarried.
- Toni Morrison was one of the very first black editors at Random House.
- She was the first African-American to win the Nobel Prize which was given to her in 1993.
- In the same year wherein she was awarded the Nobel Prize, Toni Morrison’s home was caught by the fire, and a lot of her manuscripts and other writings were burned.
Inspirational Quotes by Toni Morrison
“We die. That may actually be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”
“If there is a kind of book that you want to read, but it's never written yet; so, you must be the one to write it.”
Biography of Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison was born on February 18, 1931 in Lorain, Ohio. She was the second oldest child and has three siblings. Her father, George Wofford, did several jobs just to support Toni and his family.
On the other hand, Ramah Wofford, Toni’s mother, worked as a domestic worker. When Toni was a child, she had no idea of the interracial conflicts that existed in their society. She once quoted that when she was a child, nobody thought of her as inferior. She was the only black child in her classroom and the only one who could read.
One of the novels that contributed to her fame was the Song of Solomon. She was inspired by the book “Native Son”, written by Richard Wright, which was the first book to be featured in the Book of the Month that was written by an African-American. The story follows the endeavors of a Midwestern urban denizen named Milkman Dead. Milkman is a character who attempted to understand the roots of his family and the harshness of reality.
Another novel by Toni Morrison that explored the experiences of being an African American at that time was Sula. Sula is a book written in 1973 that tackles the good and the evil through the friendship of 2 black women who lived in Ohio. This book was also nominated for the American Book Award.
Her first novel and the one that marked the beginning of her reputation was The Bluest Eye. This book was published in 1970. The book follows the life of a young African-American girl, Peecola Breedlove. This young girl believes that her life would be so much better if she had blue eyes. The book was controversial at that time, and Toni later stated that the reaction of the public to The Bluest Eye mirrors the experience of the main character.
Some other popular books of Toni Morris were Beloved, which won her the Pulitzer Prize, and Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, which she published in 1992 and won her the Nobel Prize in 1993.
Even in her late years, Toni Morrison was still active as a writer. She wrote a book called Home which was published in 2012. Home is another book depicting the history of racial conflicts between white and black Americans. This time, Home was set in the post-Korean war era. The main character was named Frank who was a war veteran who had post-traumatic stress disorder.
Another novel that Toni Morrison wrote in her late years was the book God Help the Child. The book focuses on the journey of a young, black woman who works in cosmetics while reflecting on her past rejections.
On August 5, 2019, Toni Morrison died at the age of 88. Among her many awards were the Pulitzer Prize, which she received in 1988, and the Nobel Prize, which was awarded to her in 1993. She also earned the respect of Barack Obama. Obama showed his respect in his quote: “Toni Morrison's prose gives us that kind of moral and psychological intensity that few writers ever attempt."
Her legacy was on how she portrayed the rampant racism that occurred in her early years and how she kept on fighting for racial equality, as seen even in her latest works. There are only a few people who are as accomplished and distinguished as Toni Morrison in the field of literature.