Nikki Giovanni

No one really knows why her older sister began calling Yolande Cornelia Giovanni, Jr. “Nikki,” but somehow the name stuck. Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7, 1943. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, graduated with honors in history from Fisk University in Nashville, and began a distinguished career as a poet, teacher, and speaker that has spanned three and a half decades. Gloria Naylor calls her “one of our national treasures.” She is one of the most highly regarded—and—controversial, poets alive today.

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