By: Annie Dugan
About the Author.
Bambara was raised in Harlem, Bedford Stuyvesant, Queens and Jersey City, New Jersey. As a young girl, Bambara was encouraged to be creative, to follow her inner spirit and motives. Toni Cade Bambara credits writings to her mother for giving her a home full of love, understanding and encouragement (Contemporary Authors 12).
The name, "Bambara," which later became her own was discovered as part of a signature on a sketchbook Toni found in her great-grandmother's trunk. Toni had her name legally changed in 1970 and became Tony Cade Bambara. In 1959, Bambara received a bachelor degree in Theater Arts and English from Queens College. Shortly after, she published her first short story named "Sweet Town" in the magazine called Vendome. Throughout the 1960s she served as a social worker and director of neighborhood programs in her hometown of Harlem and Brooklyn. Meanwhile she was publishing short stories in periodicals, and directed a theater program. Toni had various publications founded by the City College SEEK program, where she earned a Master's Degree. She continued to teach at the City College in New York until 1969. Through this time she was very active in many social and political programs and became known as an educator with various community and arts organazations.