By Victor Trammell The Nobel Peace Prize is an honorable award, which has been given to many people since its inception in 1901. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to individuals for their ground-breaking achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, literature, and efforts in world peace. Beginning in 1969, an affiliated Nobel Prize has been awarded to laureates for their achievements in the field of economics. Over 800 people have had the privilege of being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Fifteen of the Nobel Prize winners have been black. Four of the 15 black Nobel laureates have been women. In 1993, the first black woman was awarded the Nobel Prize for her outstanding contributions in literature. That woman was none other than Toni Morrison, a prominent educator, playwright, and author. Toni Morrison was born on February 18, 1931 in Lorain, Ohio. At an early age, she developed an affinity for reading. Some of her favorite childhood authors were Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy. She also loved listening to her father’s folktales about the black community. The stories would come to heavily influence some of her later work. In 1953, Morrison earned a B.A. in English from Howard University. Two years later she earned a M.A. in English from Cornell University, a prestigious Ivy League institution. When Morrison graduated from Cornell, she became an English professor at Texas Southern University in Houston. Morrison’s career as a writer began in 1970 with the publication of her first novel, The Bluest Eye. It was the first of what would become 10 fictional novels Morrison wrote in her career. One of Morrison’s most popular novels was called Beloved, which was converted into a hit 1998 film starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. Morrison’s novel Beloved also won her a Pulitzer Prize in 1988. In addition to writing fictional novels, Morrison wrote scripts for plays ( Dreaming Emmett , Desdemona ), children’s books, and non-fictional novels. In 2012, Toni Morrison was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. A day after her 82nd birthday, BlackBlueDog.com honors a woman whose life-long dedication to the arts has inspired multiple generations of writers and poets.