~Happy Bday Toni Morrison!

what a beauty...

Toni Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford, the second of four children, to George and Ramah Wofford on February 18, 1931. Both of her parents came from sharecropping families who had moved North in pursuit of better living conditions in the early 1900s, and her father’s family had faced a great deal of discrimination. Due to these bitter memories and the racial troubles he endured during his childhood, he maintained a strong distrust of whites throughout his lifetime. Morrison’s parents instilled the value of group loyalty, which they believed was essential to surviving the harsh realities of racial tension during that era. As an African-American in a town of immigrants, she grew up with the notion that the only place she could turn to for aid and reassurance would be within her own community in Lorain, Ohio. Here, Morrison had "an escape from stereotyped black settings -- neither plantation nor ghetto".
Morrison’s parents encouraged her passion for reading, learning, and culture, as well as a confidence in her own abilities and attributes as woman. They educated Morrison before she was sent to school, and as an adolescent she became enthralled by classic literature, including Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Leo Tolstoy. In an interview with Jean Strouse, Morrison described her childhood experiences with literature: "Those books were not written for a little black girl in Lorain, Ohio, but they were so magnificently done that I got them anyway -- they spoke directly to me out of their own specificity.” Morrison was especially impressed by the ability of her favorite authors to identify with and present their own cultural roots.

Morrison graduated high school with honors in 1949 and went on to attend Howard University in Washington D.C. It was during this time that Morrison changed her name from ‘Chloe’ to ‘Toni’, (derived from her middle name, Anthony) so that her name would be easier to pronounce. Morrison was also a member of the Howard Repertory Theatre; their trips to perform gave her the opportunity to observe the African-American experience in the South. In 1953, she graduated from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Classics. Morrison went on to pursue graduate studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In 1955, she completed her master's thesis on the works of Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner and received a Master of Arts.

...a distinguished icon.

I discovered Toni Morrison's Bluest Eye about ten years ago...it was a fantasic read, and was very hard to put the book down. Ive yet to read any of her other books, but im sure i will ,and convinced the will be as well written and entertaining as Bluest Eye.

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