“… I fell in love with the way (Gloria) Naylor wrote Black joy, pain, happiness, sadness, anxiety, depression, dancing, singing, fighting, love-making, and praying.  I loved the way she wrote Black women’s voices.  Their spirits.  Their souls.  Their hearts.”

~ Heidi R. Lewis, professor and author

On January 25, 1950, Roosevelt and Alberta Naylor welcomed their first child, Gloria into the world.  She was born in Harlem, a community in the Manhattan borough of New York City.  Her parents, sharecroppers who had recently left Robinsonville, Mississippi, moved north in search of better opportunities.  Harlem was a highly significant destination for many Blacks who underwent The Great Migration because it was known for its opportunities for advancement.  Attaining employment, Roosevelt labored as a motorman for the New York Transit Authority and Alberta worked as a telephone operator.

Learning and education were highly important to the Naylor family, especially for Alberta.  She sacrificed the poor wages she was given to purchase books from segregated libraries.  As soon as she could write her name, Gloria began frequenting the library with her mother.  From a very young age, Gloria became a voracious reader.  She also loved to journal, compose poetry and create stories, all activities encouraged by her mother.

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