Author, teacher, activist and filmmaker Toni Cade Bambara was born in Harlem, New York in 1939. After graduating from Queens College in 1959, she worked as a social investigator, and then in the psychiatry department of New York City's Metropolitan Hospital. She studied acting and mime in Florence and Paris, received an MA in 1964 from City College of New York, and went on to lecture in English at CUNY, Livingston College, and other universities. Bambara's involvement in the Black liberation and women's movements led her to edit and publish one of the first major anthologies of Black women's writing, The Black Woman, in 1970; the following year she published a collection of folktales, Tales and Stories for Black Folks, which celebrated what she dubbed 'Our Great Kitchen Tradition'. In 1972, Bambara published her debut collection of short stories, Gorilla, My Love, and then, in 1980, her first novel, The Salt Eaters, which won the American Book Award and the Langston Hughes Society Award. Upon her death in 1995, The New York Times praised Bambara as 'a major contributor to the emerging genre of contemporary black women's literature'. Her legacy was recognised with a posthumous induction into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2013.
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