Toni Morrison

Everyone knows the name Toni Morrison.  If there was a Mount Rushmore of American literature, her face would appear alongside the towering profiles of Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, and Herman Melville.  The first African American to win the Nobel Prize in literature, Toni Morrison?s novels are read and taught in schoolrooms across the nation.  Toni Morrison was born on February 18, 1931.  She is an Aquarius, a Child of Uranus, and she was born with Uranus in the zodiac sign of Aries.  Aries is ruled by Mars and this is what makes Toni Morrison such a rugged individualist.  It?s also what makes her such an indefatigable advocate for the things that she believes in.  Not many people are familiar with her work as an editor at Random House during the 1970s.  These were the glory days of American publishing and Toni Morrison played an instrumental role in getting the African American story out there.  Her most famous project was probably The Black Book?a sort of scrapbook of African American history, as it were, made up of photographs, anecdotes, profiles and snippets of information reminiscent of the Harper?s Index.  The Black Book wasn?t a textbook.  It was more like a stream of consciousness that wound its way-- like one of America?s great rivers-- through the centuries of black history and culture.  A bestseller, it gave many Americans?black and white?their first real glimpse at the breadth and width of African American history.  Toni Morrison also edited the autobiographies of the political activist Angela Davis (pictured with Toni Morrison below) and the boxer Muhammad Ali.  Morrison recounts in an interview how department stores were nervous about hosting Ali?s book signing party?anxious that there would be looting and rioting.  It took a while for Morrison to secure a venue, but when she did she brought in members of the Nation of Islam to make sure that nothing went awry.  And nothing did.  However this was done more for Ali?s protection than for the white folks?.  Morrison says of this time ?I wanted to give back something.  I wasn?t marching.  I didn?t go to anything.  I didn?t join anything.  But I could make sure there was a published record of those who did march and did put themselves on the line.?  Toni Morrison?s career as a book editor would have been heroic enough.  The fact that it was only a forerunner to the great body of literature that would follow makes the accomplishments of this Child of Uranus even more extraordinary. Subscribe for more features.  Only 1.99 a month!