Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Black History Month Spotlight: Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison, critically acclaimed American novelist, professor, and editor, is considered a voice of her generation. Her wonderfully rich, vivid novels tackle important themes pertaining to the African-American community. She has received numerous awards for her literary works (basically every book prize possible) including the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Coretta Scott King Award for Authors.  Her beautiful writing not only broken down racial barriers, are often set in different periods of American history, which broadens the scope of the African-American experience.

Born in 1932, Morrison was raised in an integrated neighborhood in Lorain, Ohio, where she was not confronted with racial divisions until her teenage years. She excelled in her classes, graduating high school with honors in 1949. After graduating from Howard University with a degree in English, and finishing her PhD at Cornell University, Morrison taught at Texas Southern University (1955), Howard University (1957), and Princeton University (1989). In 1964, Morrison began her work as an editor for Random House in New York.

In 1970, Morrison published her first novel, The Bluest Eye, a story about a black girl who thinks her life would be better if she just had blue eyes. Morrison, though her first novel didn’t sell well, continued to write about the African-American experience and soon published Sula, which was nominated for the American Book Award. In 1977, her book, Song of Solomon, was the second book written by an African-American to be featured in the book-of-the-month club. A rising literary star, Morrison earned her place on the National Council of the Arts in 1980. Then, in 1987, Beloved, arguably Morrison’s greatest work, was published. Morrison continued to write, branching out to the genre of children’s literature.

Morrison, though she retired from her possession at Princeton in 2006, still has numerous projects. Her latest novel, Home, was published in 2012. She has recently also worked with opera director Peter Sellars and songwriter Rokia Traoré to produce a new production inspired by Shakespeare’s iconic play, Othello.

Definitely check out these awesome novels: 

The Bluest Eye (1970)

Beloved (1987)

Tar Baby (1981)

A Mercer (2008)

Sula (1973)

Love (1992)

Jazz (1981)

Song of Solomon (1977)

Paradise (1997)

Home (2012)

Katie is a sophomore studying English Literature and Anthropology at Mercer University. When not reading for her classes, she is still reading for pleasure! Katie is a major bookworm whose dream in life is to simply read all day (but, unfortunately, being a well-rounded reader doesn't pay the bills) or be a manatee princess...which isn't very realistic either. Other than books and manatees, Katie has a passion for song, piano, and nature. You can often catch her gazing at the clouds or looking up at tree branches. "The stars gleam, the poets dream..." -Jonathan Larson
Similar Reads👯‍♀️