Born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, Morrison graduated from Howard University in 1953 with a B.A. in English. In 1955, she earned a master's in American Literature from Cornell University. In 1957 she returned to Howard University, was married, and had two children before divorcing in 1964. In the late 1960s, she became the first black female editor in fiction at Random House in New York City. In the 1970s and 1980s, she developed her own reputation as an author, and her perhaps most celebrated work, ''Beloved'', was made into a 1998 film.