On this day, February 18 Toni Morrison, original name Chloe Anthony Wofford, was born to become an American writer noted for her examination of black experience. She received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
Growing up in the American Midwest, her family emphasized and demonstrated an intense love of and appreciation for black culture. Taking these home traditions and influences with her as she attended Howard University finishing in 1953 and Cornell University with a master’s degree in 1955, Morrison taught at Texas Southern University for two years and Howard from 1957 to 1964. Then in 1984 she taught writing at the State University of New York at Albany, leaving in 1989 to join the faculty of Princeton University.
In 1984 Morrison’s became a fiction write but published her first book, The Bluest Eye in 1970, is a novel of initiation concerning a victimized adolescent black girl who is obsessed by white standards of beauty and longs to have blue eyes. In 1973 her second novel, Sula, was published; it examines the layers of friendship and the expectations for conformity within a community. Then in 1977 the Song of Solomon was told by a male narrator in search of his identity; its publication brought Morrison to national attention along with Tar Baby in 1981, set on a Caribbean island, explores conflicts of race, class, and sex. These are amongst Morrison’s early work that gained her notoriety among a national audience revealing the black experience in her fictional characters.