WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Toni Morrison, the first black woman to ever be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, turned 88 on Monday.
In addition to the Nobel Prize in 1993 and a Grammy in 2008, Morrison won numerous other literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. (See a full list below)
President Barack Obama gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
Born in Lorain, Ohio, on February 18, 1931, to Ramah and George Wofford, she was named Chloe Ardelia Wofford.
Morrison earned a B.A. in English from Howard University in 1953 and a Master of Arts from Cornell University in 1955. She later taught at Howard for seven years. She is a professor emeritus at Princeton University.
In 1958 while she was teaching at Howard, she married Harold Morrison, a Jamaican architect. They had two sons before they divorced in 1964.
In 1988, Morrison won the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel, Beloved. Ten years later, the novel was adapted for a film starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.
Her first novel was The Bluest Eye in 1970. Other celebrated novels include Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Jazz, Paradise, and God Help the Child.
In 2008, Morrison won the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children with Who's Got Game? The Ant or the Grasshopper? The Lion or the Mouse? Poppy or the Snake?
She has been awarded Honorary Doctor of Letters from Harvard University, Oxford University, Rutgers University, and the University of Geneva.
1977: National Book Critics Circle Award for Song of Solomon
1977: American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award
1987–88: Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
1988: Helmerich Award
1988: American Book Award for Beloved
1988: Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Race Relations for Beloved
1988: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Beloved
1988: Frederic G. Melcher Book Award for Beloved. A remark in her acceptance speech that "there is no suitable memorial or plaque or wreath or wall or park or skyscraper lobby" honoring the memory of the human beings forced into slavery and brought to the United States; "There's no small bench by the road," led the Toni Morrison Society to begin installing benches at significant sites in the history of slavery in America; the first "bench by the road" was dedicated July 26, 2008, on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, the point of entry for about 40 percent of the enslaved Africans brought to British North America.
1989: MLA Commonwealth Award in Literature
1989: Honorary Doctor of Letters at Harvard University
1993: Nobel Prize for Literature
1993: Commander of the Arts and Letters, Paris
1994: Condorcet Medal, Paris
1994: Rhegium Julii Prize for Literature
1996: Jefferson Lecture
1996: National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
2000: National Humanities Medal
2002: 100 Greatest African Americans, list by Molefi Kete Asante
2005: Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University
2008: New Jersey Hall of Fame inductee
2009: Norman Mailer Prize, Lifetime Achievement
2010: Officier de la Légion d'Honneur
2011: Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction
2011: Honorary Doctor of Letters at Rutgers University Graduation Commencement
2011: Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Geneva
2012: Presidential Medal of Freedom
2013: The Nichols-Chancellor's Medal awarded by Vanderbilt University
2014 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award given by the National Book Critics Circle
2016 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction
2016 The Charles Eliot Norton Professorship in Poetry (The Norton Lectures), Harvard University
2016 The Edward MacDowell Medal, awarded by The MacDowell Colony