Nikki Giovanni : A Famous African American Activist, Writer, And Educator

Nikki Giovanni : A Famous African American Activist, Writer, And Educator

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Nikki Giovanni is a famous African American activist, writer, and educator. Her writing, which made her name known, is known for the controversial, straightforward and rebellious content it contains. It is celebrated for its lyrical feel, and how easy it is for anyone to read. Her poems cannot be even be categorized, she has her own style that is so unique that anyone who has read her work before can go, oh yeah, this is Giovanni. Her earlier writings were about the Civil Rights Movement in the nineteen sixties. She was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1943 but grew up in Cincinnati Ohio. Although she spent most of her days in Cincinnati, Nikki and her sister would always go back to Knoxville to visit her grandmother. To this day, she still considers herself a Tennessean. She was the youngest of two girls in a very close knit family. She gained her strong pride and appreciation for her race from her grandmother. She said in an interview “I come from a long line of storytellers.” Her poetry and writing were a way to fight back to the society oppressing her and her people. It was her own silent, nonviolent war. A strong revolutionary, opinionated, and determined woman, some of her words started controversy; especially in the areas of race, love, marriage, and abortion.
Giovanni’s first pieces of literature which made her famous was a response to the civil rights movement. People like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy, and Medgar Evers. She wanted to raise awareness of the struggles and rights of black people. Her first published work, Black Feeling, Black Talk, (1967) sold over 10,000 copies in its first year, and the follow-up Black Judgment, (1968), sold over 6000 copies in three months. She encouraged readers w...


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...ding volumes of poetry, books for young readers, children as well as three collections of essays. She has worked in education for many years, starting with being an assistant professor of black studies and Queens College of the City University (1968-1972). She has won numerous awards such as the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Dedication and Commitment to service (2009), three NAACP Image Awards for Literature in 1988, The Langston Hughes award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts Letters in 1996 and more than 22 honorary degrees from national colleges and universities, has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of spoken word, and was recently named as Oprah Winfrey’s twenty-five “Living Legends.” Her work will be an inspiration for generations. It has taught us to love ourselves, think for ourselves and to never be afraid to speak our minds.

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