Published: Wed, August 07, 2019
Culture | By Margie Dunn

Jada Pinkett Smith, Kerry Washington, IIhan Omar And More Remember Toni Morrison

Jada Pinkett Smith, Kerry Washington, IIhan Omar And More Remember Toni Morrison

"It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends.", her family said in a statement.

Toni Morrison, the acclaimed writer who explored black identity in the United States in her literature, died in the Bronx, New York on Monday.

Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford in Lorain, Ohio, a steel town outside of Cleveland. Aside from her illustrious literary career, which spanned four decades and included 11 novels and multiple works of non-fiction, Morrison also taught creative writing and literature at multiple universities. She was 88-years-old. "Toni Morrison's belief that language is the "measure of our lives" leaves an extraordinary, inspiring inheritance, and her handsome writing will continue to be a blessing for generations to come".

"I just had simply never read a book where a young black girl was centre stage, when the book was about her, when she wasn't a backdrop or somebody's notion of comedy", said Morrison.

The novel was part of a trilogy that Morrison said looked at love through the perspective of black history.

The book was released in 1970 and wasn't a commercial hit, though in a review, the New Yorker said Morrison was a "writer of considerable power and tenderness". Morrison was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama in 2012.

Morrison went on to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the 1996 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. She wrote "The Bluest Eye" while holding down her editor position and raising two children on her own. "I grew up wanting to be only her. Dinner with her was a night I will never forget".

"She made me understand "writer" was a fine profession", Rhimes tweeted. I thought they were not going to ever have the experiences that I had. "We tend to cut it down these days - smaller, and smaller, and smaller - to make it fit, I don't know what, a headline or a room".

In the foreword to her novel "Tar Baby", Morrison wrote that her grandmother would tell the children stories to pass time during tedious tasks like "picking through baskets of wild grapes to sort out the bruised". "She helped me get a publishing deal for the making of [my] book with The New Press". Pulling from African literature, slave folklore or black history, Morrison portrayed her black characters as complex, vibrant, and flawed people, transforming American literature.

Singer Beyonce paid tribute to Morrison on her website with a picture of the author on her homepage alongside one of her quotes: "If you surrender to the air, you can ride it". "They are canonical works, and more importantly, they are books that remain beloved by readers", he said. During her tenure as an editor at Random House she helped hone the voices of several writers and activists including Toni Cade Bambara, Gayl Jones, and Angela Davis. "If there were any doubts about her stature as a pre-eminent American novelist, of her own or any other generation, "Beloved" will put them to rest".

Like this: