Toni Morrison, the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, was born Chloe Anthony Wofford in 1931. She was the second of four children of George Wofford, a shipyard welder and Ramal Willis Wofford. Her parents moved to Ohio from the South to escape racism and find better opportunities. Her father was a hardworking and dignified man, working at three jobs at the same time for almost seventeen years. At home, Chloe heard many songs and tales of Southern black folklore as her family was proud of their heritage.
Loraine, was a small industrial town populated with European, Mexican and Southern blacks who lived next to each other. Chloe attended an integrated school and did not encounter discrimination until she started dating. After graduation, she was accepted at Howard University in Washington DC, where she majored in English. From there she went to Cornell University in Ithaca and received a master in 1955. She became an English instructor at Texas Southern University, in Houston. In 1957 she returned to Howard University as a member of the faculty. This was a time of civil rights movements and she met several people who were later active in the struggle. One of her students was Stokely Carmichael who then became a leader of the SNCC.
At Howard she fell in love with a young Jamaican architect, Harold Morrison. They Married in 1958 but it was not a happy union. Even though she had two sons, she divorced her husband , left the University and returned to her parents' home in Lorain.
In 1964, Morrison obtained a mob with a textbook subsidiary of Random House in Syracuse, NY as an associate editor. I was at this time in her life that she began to write. Her first novel, "The Bluest Eyes", was finally published in 1970 to much critical acclaim. She continued writing and also began lecturing at various Universities.
In 1984, she was named the Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at the State University of New York in Albany. She has written several outstanding novels and plays.