Toni Morrison Mural

History & Art in Downtown Ithaca

Toni Morrison Mural

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Ithaca Heritage


This mural of celebrated author Toni Morrison was painted by local artist Maryam Adib (Artist handle @thrifted_underwear and and completed in November of 2019. This mural is on a personal residence, so please be respectful of the grounds.

Toni Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford in 1931 and passed away in 2019 at the age of 88. She adopted the pen name of Toni Morrison for the publication of her first novel The Bluest Eye in 1970; the professional moniker stuck, although she used her birth name for some of her other writings. Morrison was a prolific author in her lifetime, publishing 11 novels that explored the Black American experience, including Beloved, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988, and Song of Solomon, which received a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977. She also wrote children’s books, an operetta, and essay collections. In 1993, Morrison became the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Following her graduation from Howard University, Morrison moved to Ithaca in 1954 to complete a Master of Arts degree in American Literature at Cornell University. She completed her Cornell degree in 1955 with a thesis titled “Virginia Woolf’s and William Faulkner’s treatment of the alienated.” Morrison (then Wofford) lived in Cornell’s Cascadilla Hall while she was a student.

Morrison returned to Ithaca as an Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large for Cornell University from 1997 to 2003. A.D. White Professors-at-Large are an elite group of up to twenty outstanding intellectuals from around the globe, and are considered full members of the Cornell faculty. During their six-year appointments, each Professor-at-Large visits the campus for at least one week in each three-year period.

Morrison returned to the Ithaca campus numerous times over the years. “It’s always nice for me to come back,” she said in 2009. “My memories are strong about this place; important. And the two times I have been here for sustained periods have always been extraordinary.”

Morrison’s last visit to Cornell before her death was in 2013 for a conversation about literature, politics, and language hosted by the Africana Studies and Research Center and the Institute of German Cultural Studies.

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This point of interest is part of the tour: History & Art in Downtown Ithaca


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