Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7, 1943. Giovanni is the youngest oftwosisters, spent her childhood with her parents older sister Gary. Shortly after her birth, the family moved first to Woodlawn,Ohio, then to Wyoming, Ohio, and ultimately to the black community of Lincoln Heights, Ohio. In 1960, enrolled early at Fisk University, a prestigious, all-black college in Nashville, Tennessee. After receiving her bachelor of arts degree in 1967, she organized the Black Arts Festival in Cincinnati before entering graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.
In 1969, Giovanni took a teaching position at Rutgers University. That year she also gave birth to her son, Thomas. Giovanni’s work shifted focus after the birth of her son and she made several recordings of her poetry. After her son’s birth, Giovanni rearranged her priorities around him and has stated that she would give her life for him.
Nikki Giovanni is a well known African-American poet and a civil rights activist. Giovanni’s poetry expresses strong racial pride and respect for family. Thecivil rightsandBlack powermovements inspired her early poetry that was collected inBlack Feeling, Black Talk(1967),Black Judgement(1968), andReCreation(1970). Giovanni’s first published volumes of poetry grew out of her response to the assassinations of such figures as Martin Luther King, Jr. , Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Robert Kennedy, and the need she saw to raise awareness of the rights of black people. Nikki Giovanni accomplished many things,Keys to more than two dozen American cities, including New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, American Book Award, The Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award, first recipient, and others as well.
Giovanni has received numerous awards and accolades for her work including multiple NAACP Image Awards, the Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters and many more. Giovanni has been known for many of her poems. For exampleLove is, Choices, You came, too and Life cycles,many more. Many of Giovanni’s poems were about life and her life. Giovanni’s poems were inspired by her family, but especially her grandmother which has been a great influence for writing her poems and being a civil rights activist.
Giovanni is currently working at the University Professor atVirginia Tech.In 2007, TheVirginia Tech shooting occurred andshe delivered a chant-poem at a memorial for the shooting victims.