One of the most amazing poets of our time, Yolande Cornelia “Nikki” Giovanni, Jr. is an American poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. One of the world’s most well-known African-American poets, her work includes poetry anthologies, poetry recordings, and nonfiction essays, and covers topics ranging from race and social issues to children’s literature. She has won numerous awards, including the Langston Hughes Medal, the NAACP Image Award, and has been nominated for a Grammy Award, for her Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. Additionally, she has recently been named as one of Oprah Winfrey’s twenty-five “Living Legends.”Nikki Giovanni was born June 7, 1943 in Knoxville, TN to Yolande Cornelia, Sr. and Jones “Gus” Giovanni. She grew up in a suburb of Cincinnati, OH though she returned to Knoxville to live with her grandparents in 1958, and In 1960, she began her studies at her grandfather’s alma mater Fisk University in Nashville, TN. In 1967, she graduated with honors with a B.A. in History. Afterwards she went on to attend graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.
She has received the NAACP Image Award several times, received twenty honorary doctorates and various other awards, including the Rosa Parks and the Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters. She has received the Life Membership and Scroll from the National Counsel of Negro Women, and is an Honorary Member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
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