Side A: Author Toni Morrison was born, Chloe Ardelia Wofford, in Lorain on February 18, 1931. Her passion for language was nurtured by her family and while working at the Lorain Public Library during high school. Then housed in the Carnegie Center, the library hired her to reshelve and catalog books. Morrison said that she “was slow because I kept reading the books instead of putting them back fast.” Graduating Lorain High School (1949), she attended Howard University (BA 1953), Cornell (MA 1955), and she was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. During college she took the name “Toni,” shortening her saint name Anthony. Morrison worked as a literary editor and professor while also writing award-winning novels. She maintained a lifelong connection with Lorain. Morrison died August 5, 2019.
Side B: Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, becoming the first African-American woman to win this prestigious award. Her long list of awards include a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and a U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. Morrison’s lifelong passion for language was fostered in the melting pot of Lorain, Ohio. Surrounded by books on the shelves, a young Morrison read “everything there was in the library,” analyzing the language choices authors made and “the different ways to say the same thing…choices that the authors were making in order to tell me something, or make me see something…that was what was fantastic.” Morrison’s literature has inspired millions around the world. Telling stories about African-Americans beyond the white gaze, her work forever changed the literary canon.