Ms. Giovanni was born in Knoxville General Hospital in 1943. The
daughter of college educated parents in the Jim Crow South, her
parents were left with few job options beyond menial labor. They
moved the family to Cincinnati where they became educators.
However, Nikki's family maintained strong ties with Knoxville,
returning every summer to stay with her grandparents, John Brown
and Emma Louvenia Watson, prompting her to call Knoxville her hometown.
She enrolled in Austin High School in 1958, but left before graduating
as an early entrant into Fisk University.
Ms. Giovanni is in Knoxville this week to launch her new book,
On My Journey Now, on its national tour.