Chloe Ardelia Wofford was born 18 February 1931 in Lorain, Ohio. (She earned the nickname "Toni" in college and took Morrison as her married name; to keep this from getting too confusing, we're going to refer to her as "Toni Morrison" from here on out.) She was the second of four children born to George Wofford, a welder who played the violin at home, and Ramah Willis Wofford, a domestic worker with an ear for jazz and opera.
Lorain was an unassuming, predominantly African-American town. The Morrison family, like most of Lorain's residents, were poor. George and Ramah Wofford refused to allow this to have any bearing on their children. "The world back then didn't expect much from a little black girl, but my father and mother certainly did,"