From Miltona to Toni

From Miltona to Toni

Written on 05/23/2022

Toni Cade Bambara was born Miltona Mirkin Cadean. An acclaimed novelist, short story writer, and editor whose work is often seen as emblematic of African American women's literature in the 1960's. She spent her childhood and adolescent years in New York City and Jersey City, New Jersey where she was deeply influenced by the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s,

In 1970, Bambara edited and published her first book, The Black Woman: An Anthology, in which African American women of different ages and classes voiced issues not addressed by the civil rights and women’s movements. Bambara nurtured and promoted young writers by including college undergraduates as well as famous writers like Audre Lorde in The Black Woman and in a second anthology, Tales, and Stories for Black Folks (1971). In October 1972, Toni Cade Bambara published her first short-story collection called Gorilla, My Love.

Between 1973 and 1975, Bambara visited Cuba and Viet Nam where she learned about the political effectiveness of women’s organizations in these countries and continued to be an outgoing activist for the civil rights of African Americans. 

"When you dream, you dialog with aspects of yourself that normally are not with you in the daytime and you discover that you know a great deal more than you thought you did."

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