Happy 86th Birthday to Toni Morrison, the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Born as Chloe Wofford in Lorain, Ohio, the novelist is known for her lyrically narrated novels of black American life, including, The Bluest Eye (her first), Song of Solomon, and Beloved, which became a film and also earned her a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. Her latest book, “God Help the Child”, was also recorded as an audio book with Morrison reading it herself. (1931)
Morrison’s Facebook page reports that she actually hates the title of the 2015 book–which publishers chose for her–and prefers the one she named it, The Wrath of Children.
She worked for years as a book editor for Random House and is currently serving as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Hindus and Hare Krishnas commemorate the day Lord Krishna left his body (3102 BC)
- The First Academy Award winners were announced (1929)
- Gambia became the 37th sovereign state in Africa and last of Britain’s West African colonies to gain independence (1965)
- California’s Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty (1972)
- The Space Shuttle Enterprise test vehicle went on its maiden “flight” perched atop a Boeing 747 (1977)
- Snow fell in the Sahara Desert for the only time in recorded history (1979)
- American speed skater Shani Davis became the first black athlete to win a gold medal in Winter Olympic history for an individual event, winning the men’s 1,000-meter in Turin (2006)
And, on this day in 1885, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published in the US. The sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a scathing satire on entrenched attitudes, particularly racism, and was among the first novels in major American literature to be written fully in regional vernacular English, which made it controversial, especially in the 20th century, because of its course language and use of racial slurs.