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The wit and wisdom of Toni Morrison

Updated 10:15 AM ET, Tue August 6, 2019
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Toni Morrison on being a black writer Toni Morrison on being a black writer
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Toni Morrison; the writer, editor and professor, has always moved people with her words, whether she's making a speech or writing a novel.

To celebrate her wit and wisdom, Leading Women have collated some of her most powerful quotes on topics from love to literature.

By Phoebe Parke, for CNN.
Courtesy Kris Connor/Getty Images
Morrison was born on February 18, 1931 in Ohio, and studied English first at Howard University for her bachelors degree, then the same subject at Cornell University at masters level, graduating in 1955. Courtesy Frank Polich/Getty Images
She started teaching at Texas Southern University in 1955 and then became an editor at Random House in 1963. She edited the work of authors such as Toni Cade Bambara and Gayl Jones. Courtesy FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images
Toni married Harold Morrison on 1958 and had two children with him; Harold Ford in 1961 and Slade Kevin in 1964, before their divorce in that same year. She wrote children's literature with her youngest son Slade who died in 2010. She dedicated her novel Home to him. Courtesy Evan Agostini/Getty Images
Now a single mother of two, Morrison has written plays, children's literature, non-fiction and 10 novels, the first was The Bluest Eye, published in 1970. The novel is set in Lorain, Ohio and tells the story of a young black girl who is insecure about her skin color and has an abusive relationship with her father. Courtesy Francois Durand/Getty Images
Between 1984 and 1989 she served as the Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at the State University of New York in Albany.
Morrison published her fifth novel, Beloved in 1987 which received a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and was made into a film starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover in 1998.
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She continued her work in education in 1989 when she became the Robert F. Goheen Chair in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University until 2006. Courtesy NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
Morrison became the first African-American woman to win a Nobel prize in 1993. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, along with the statement: Toni Morrison, "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality." Courtesy Evan Agostini/Getty Images
In May 2012 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama which recognizes people who have made a contribution to national interests, world peace or cultural endeavors.

Morrison's 11th novel, God Help the Child, is due to be published in April 2015.
Courtesy PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GettyImages