The works of Toni Morrison were fundamental in African American literature but the overall impact it has had on American literature is undeniable and irreplaceable. Morrison, who was 88, died in 2019 from complications of pneumonia, but his legacy and impact live on.
Morrison was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 and in 1988 she won the Pulitzer Prize for her book, My love. “I am writing for blacks.Morrison told the guardian in 2015. “I don’t have to apologize or consider myself limited.”
his first book, the bluest eye, (1970) centers on a young black woman who is obsessed with white standards of beauty. This exploration of career in america it became the cornerstone of his works, creating rarely told stories in the American literary canon.
Morrison went on to write 11 novels, as well as children’s books and collections of essays, among them, were song of solomon, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977 and was her first book to include a male lead. Throughout the works, she became obsessed with the legacy of slavery and generational trauma and how it played out in violent ways, including alcoholism, incest, murder, and rape.
She also worked as a book editor at Random House for 19 years, making sure to focus on black literature, and was also a professor of literature at Princeton University. She grew up listening to the folklore of her grandparents, which greatly influenced her writing decades after her, evident in the supernatural presence in My love, for example.
Morrison was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio, a working-class community about 30 miles west of Cleveland. When she was 12 years old, she joined the Roman Catholic Church and took the baptismal name Anthony (Antonio de Padua), which later became the nickname she is famous for after taking the last name of her husband. . She received a BA from Howard with a minor in English and a minor in Classics in 1953 and then earned an MA in English from Cornell in 1955.
In 2006, after surveying hundreds of writers, editors, and reviewers, The Book Review named My love the best work of American fiction of the previous quarter century. While cementing her status as one of the world’s greatest writers, she continued to garner accolades, including the National Humanities Medal in 2000 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented in 2012 by President Barack Obama.
In 2015, he published his eleventh and final novel, god help the child and earlier this year a documentary about his life titled Toni Morrison: The pieces that I am was released.
Morrison explained during an interview with Grant in 2017 which she started writing when she realized there was no book about her in the library where she worked, so she started working on her first book. “So if I wanted to read it, I’d probably have to write it down.”
About the race in America
Toni Morrison was sometimes called “America’s Conscience” noting her fixation on racial prejudice in the United States and how she masterfully combined detailed rage with understanding and compassion.
About the beauty of life
Toni Morrison said this to the graduating class at Rutgers University in 2011 inspiring students, just like she used to do as a teacher. In 1989, she was named Robert F. Goheen Chair in Humanities from Princeton University, where he taught until 2006. In 2017, the University renamed West Hall, a residential college on the Morrison Hall campus, in his honor.
On freedom and power
In an interview with Oprah magazine, toni Morrison spoke about the common good and the responsibility artists have to do what they do to the best of their ability.. “You have to keep affirming the complexity and uniqueness of life, its multiplicity and its facets,” she added.
Taken from Song of Solomon (1977), this direct quote about life applies to everyone. It’s about letting go to move on, accepting who you are to get rid of anything else that gets in the way of that acceptance.
The role of racism
Racism and internalized racism distract from what is important and from pursuing passions and goals despite race. Toni Morrison wrote unapologetically about black people to give these stories the attention they deserve, despite backlash and criticism that it was her only focus.
On knowing your worth
Taken from Solomon’s song, this beautiful quote reinforces how no one can respect you if you don’t respect yourself and no one can value you if you don’t value yourself. Toni Morrison’s characters often suffered, but many were also empowered and liberated by the truth, and this is one of those liberating idioms.
On getting out of your comfort zone
Toni Morrison wrote this in her book The source of self esteem: Selected essays, speeches and meditations discussing “his rainbow journey toward achieving personal goals.” She goes on to discuss how women’s rights are both a personal issue and a cause. It’s something between just two women as much as about the women as a whole.
This was taken from his 1992 novel. Jazzthe second in his trilogy on African American history that begins with My love and ending with Paradise. The story takes place in Harlem in the 1920s and its chapters are stylized as the music it is inspired by, often using the call-and-response style common in jazz music.
On writing about the African-American experience
One of my favorite interviews with Toni Morrison. The interviewer asked her when she was going to write “substantially” about whites. His response from her? “You can’t understand how powerfully racist that question is, can you?” pic.twitter.com/WFhNMgx7xv
—Paul McCallion (@OrangePaulp) August 6, 2019
During a 1998 interview on the Australian show uncensored, journalist Jana Wendt asked him if he thought he would ever write stories that focused on whites, and his answer was a truth bomb. Throughout her career, Toni Morrison was unapologetic for her focus on the African-American experience, but what she did was more than just write about it, she strove to show the complexities of that existence.
On being true to yourself
This is a quote from an essay Toni Morrison wrote in 2017 for the New YorkerHe spoke of a conversation he had with his father. “I’ve worked for all kinds of people ever since, geniuses and jerks, witty and clumsy, big-hearted and narrow-minded. I have had many types of jobs, but since that conversation with my father I have never considered the level of work as the measure of myself and I have never put the security of a job above home value,” she added.
On the healing power of words
Toni Morrison wrote this in an essay presented at The nation, where he discussed feeling depressed after the re-election of George W. Bush and how he found himself unable to write. A friend explained that in moments of dread, it was essential for artists to keep talking. “I know that the world is bruised and bleeding, and while it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also essential to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge, even wisdom. Like art,” she wrote.