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Toni Morrisons Biography Toni Morrison the first black woman to receive Nobel Prize in Literature was born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18 1931 in Lorain Ohio USA She was the second of four children of George Wofford a shipyard welder and Ramah Willis Wofford Her parents moved to Ohio from the South to escape racism and to find better opportunities in the North Her father was a hardworking and dignified man While the children were growing up he worked three jobs at the same time for almost 17 years He took a great deal of pride in the quality of his work so that each time he welded a perfect seam hed also weld his name onto the side of the ship He also made sure to be well-dressed even during the Depression Her mother was a church-going woman and she sang in the choir At home Chloe heard many songs and tales of Southern black folklore The Woffords were proud of their heritage Lorain was a small industrial town populated with immigrant Europeans Mexicans and Southern blacks who lived next to each other Chloe attended an integrated school In her first grade she was the only black student in her class and the only one who could read She was friends with many of her white schoolmates and did not encounter discrimination until she started dating She hoped one day to become a dancer like her favorite ballerina Maria Tallchief and she also loved to read Her early favorites were the Russian writers Tolstoy and Dostoyevski French author Gustave Flaubert and English novelist Jane Austen She was an excellent student and she graduated with honors from Lorain High School in 1949 Chloe Wofford then attended the prestigious Howard University in Washington DC where she majored in English with a minor in classics Since many people couldnt pronounce her first name correctly she changed it to Toni a shortened version of
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