Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni (born June 7, 1943 in
Knoxville, Tennessee) is a Grammy-nominated American poet, activist
and author. Giovanni is currently a Distinguished Professor of
English at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
Giovanni has received numerous honors for her contributions to
literature and society. She has received more than twenty honorary
degrees from national colleges and universities and has been given
keys to more than a dozen cities in the United States, including
New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, and New Orleans.
Giovanni has been named woman of the year by several magazines,
including Mademoiselle, Ladies' Home Journal, Ebony, and Essence.
She has been awarded the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding
Poetry and was the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of
Courage Award. She is also the recipient of three NAACP Image
Awards and a honorary membership of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority,
Giovanni was the 2007 recipient of The Chicago Public Library
Foundation's Carl Sandburg Literary Award for lifetime achievement.
Giovanni is the first poet to be chosen for this honor, which is
awarded annually. Giovanni gave a lecture on October 18, 2007, at
the Chicago Public Library in part with their Author Series.