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Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison

Overview
Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

 and Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. It originated as the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, which was awarded between 1918 and 1947.-1910s:...

-winning American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye is a 1970 novel by American author Toni Morrison. It is Morrison's first novel, written while Morrison was teaching at Howard University and was raising her two sons on her own. The story is about a year in the life of a young black girl in Lorain, Ohio, named Pecola...

, Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon (novel)
Song of Solomon is a 1977 novel by American author Toni Morrison. It follows the life of Macon "Milkman" Dead III, an African-American male living in Michigan, from birth to adulthood....

and Beloved
Beloved (novel)
Beloved is a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison, published in 1987. Set in 1873 just after the American Civil War , it is based on the story of the African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a free state...

. She also was commissioned to write the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner
Margaret Garner
Margaret Garner was an enslaved African American woman in pre-Civil War America who was notorious - or celebrated - for killing her own daughter rather than allow the child to be returned to slavery. She and her family had escaped in January 1856 across the frozen Ohio River to Cincinnati, but...

, first performed in 2005.

Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio
Lorain, Ohio
Lorain is a city in Lorain County, Ohio, United States. The municipality is located in northeastern Ohio on Lake Erie, at the mouth of the Black River, about 30 miles west of Cleveland....

 to Ramah (née Willis) and George Wofford.
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Quotations

Here is the house. It is green and white. It has a red door. It is very pretty.

The Bluest Eye (1969) First lines

There is really nothing more to say — except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.

The Bluest Eye (1969)

In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from their roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there was once a neighborhood.

Sula (1973) First lines

Like any artist with no art form, she became dangerous.

Sula (1973)

I know what every colored woman in this country is doing. . . . Dying. Just like me. But the difference is they dying like a stump. Me, I'm going down like one of those redwoods. I sure did live in this world.

Sula (1973)

What difference do it make if the thing you scared of is real or not?

Song of Solomon (1977)

Too much tail. All that jewelry weighs it down. Like vanity. Can't nobody fly with all that shit. Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.

Guitar to Milkman on why a male peacock can't fly much better than a chicken. Song of Solomon (1977)

If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.

Song of Solomon (1977)
Encyclopedia
Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

 and Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. It originated as the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, which was awarded between 1918 and 1947.-1910s:...

-winning American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye is a 1970 novel by American author Toni Morrison. It is Morrison's first novel, written while Morrison was teaching at Howard University and was raising her two sons on her own. The story is about a year in the life of a young black girl in Lorain, Ohio, named Pecola...

, Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon (novel)
Song of Solomon is a 1977 novel by American author Toni Morrison. It follows the life of Macon "Milkman" Dead III, an African-American male living in Michigan, from birth to adulthood....

and Beloved
Beloved (novel)
Beloved is a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison, published in 1987. Set in 1873 just after the American Civil War , it is based on the story of the African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a free state...

. She also was commissioned to write the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner
Margaret Garner
Margaret Garner was an enslaved African American woman in pre-Civil War America who was notorious - or celebrated - for killing her own daughter rather than allow the child to be returned to slavery. She and her family had escaped in January 1856 across the frozen Ohio River to Cincinnati, but...

, first performed in 2005.

Early life and career


Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio
Lorain, Ohio
Lorain is a city in Lorain County, Ohio, United States. The municipality is located in northeastern Ohio on Lake Erie, at the mouth of the Black River, about 30 miles west of Cleveland....

 to Ramah (née Willis) and George Wofford. She is the second of four children in a working-class family. As a child, Morrison read constantly; among her favorite authors were Jane Austen
Jane Austen
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.Austen lived...

 and Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

. Morrison's father told her numerous folktales of the black community (a method of storytelling that would later work its way into Morrison's writings).

In 1949 Morrison entered Howard University
Howard University
Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

, where she received a B.A. in English in 1953. She earned a Master of Arts
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

 degree in English from Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 in 1955, for which she wrote a thesis
Thesis
A dissertation or thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings...

 on suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 in the works of William Faulkner
William Faulkner
William Cuthbert Faulkner was an American writer from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner worked in a variety of media; he wrote novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays and screenplays during his career...

 and Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

. After graduation, Morrison became an English instructor at Texas Southern University
Texas Southern University
Texas Southern University is a historically black university located in Houston, Texas, United States....

 in Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

 (1955–57), then returned to Howard to teach English. She became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha
Alpha Kappa Alpha
Alpha Kappa Alpha is the first Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African American college women. The sorority was founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., by a group of nine students, led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle...

 sorority.

In 1958 she married Harold Morrison, a Jamaican architect and fellow faculty member at Howard University
Howard University
Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

. They had two children, Harold and Slade, and divorced in 1964. After the divorce she moved to Syracuse, New York
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse is a city in and the county seat of Onondaga County, New York, United States, the largest U.S. city with the name "Syracuse", and the fifth most populous city in the state. At the 2010 census, the city population was 145,170, and its metropolitan area had a population of 742,603...

, where she worked as a textbook editor. A year and a half later, she went to work as an editor at the New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 headquarters of Random House
Random House
Random House, Inc. is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It has been owned since 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann and has become the umbrella brand for Bertelsmann book publishing. Random House also has a movie production arm, Random House Films,...

. As an editor, Morrison played a vital role in bringing black literature into the mainstream, editing books by authors such as Toni Cade Bambara
Toni Cade Bambara
Toni Cade Bambara, born Miltona Mirkin Cade was an African-American author, documentary film-maker, social activist and college professor.- Biography :...

, Angela Davis
Angela Davis
Angela Davis is an American political activist, scholar, and author. Davis was most politically active during the late 1960s through the 1970s and was associated with the Communist Party USA, the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther Party...

, and Gayl Jones
Gayl Jones
Gayl Jones is an African American writer from Lexington, Kentucky.-Early life:After earning the Frances Steloff Award for Fiction while attending Connecticut College, Jones graduated with a Masters in creative writing at Brown University.-Career:The same year, she published her first book...

.

Writing career



Morrison began writing fiction as part of an informal group of poets and writers at Howard who met to discuss their work. She went to one meeting with a short story about a black girl who longed to have blue eyes. She later developed the story as her first novel, The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye is a 1970 novel by American author Toni Morrison. It is Morrison's first novel, written while Morrison was teaching at Howard University and was raising her two sons on her own. The story is about a year in the life of a young black girl in Lorain, Ohio, named Pecola...

(1970). She wrote it while raising two children and teaching at Howard. In 2000 it was chosen as a selection for Oprah's Book Club
Oprah's Book Club
Oprah's Book Club was a book discussion club segment of the American talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, highlighting books chosen by host Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey started the book club in 1996, selecting a new novel for viewers to read and discuss each month. The Club ended its 15-year run, along with...

.

In 1975 her novel Sula
Sula (novel)
Sula is a 1973 novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.-Plot summary:The Bottom is a mostly black community in Ohio, situated in the hills above the mostly white, wealthier community of Medallion. The Bottom first became a community when a master gave it to his former slave...

(1973) was nominated for the National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

. Her third novel, Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon (novel)
Song of Solomon is a 1977 novel by American author Toni Morrison. It follows the life of Macon "Milkman" Dead III, an African-American male living in Michigan, from birth to adulthood....

(1977), brought her national attention. The book was a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, the first novel by a black writer to be so chosen since Richard Wright
Richard Wright (author)
Richard Nathaniel Wright was an African-American author of sometimes controversial novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction. Much of his literature concerns racial themes, especially those involving the plight of African-Americans during the late 19th to mid 20th centuries...

's Native Son
Native Son
Native Son is a novel by American author Richard Wright. The novel tells the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas, an African American living in utter poverty. Bigger lived in Chicago's South Side ghetto in the 1930s...

in 1940. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award
National Book Critics Circle Award
The National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle to promote the finest books and reviews published in English....

.

In 1987 Morrison's novel Beloved
Beloved (novel)
Beloved is a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison, published in 1987. Set in 1873 just after the American Civil War , it is based on the story of the African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a free state...

became a critical success. When the novel failed to win the National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award
National Book Critics Circle Award
The National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle to promote the finest books and reviews published in English....

, a number of writers protested over the omission. Shortly afterward, it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. It originated as the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, which was awarded between 1918 and 1947.-1910s:...

 and the American Book Award
American Book Award
The American Book Award was established in 1978 by the Before Columbus Foundation. It seeks to recognize outstanding literary achievement by contemporary American authors, without restriction to race, sex, ethnic background, or genre...

. That same year, Morrison took a visiting professorship at Bard College
Bard College
Bard College, founded in 1860 as "St. Stephen's College", is a small four-year liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.-Location:...

.

Beloved was adapted into the 1998 film of the same name starring Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011...

 and Danny Glover
Danny Glover
Danny Lebern Glover is an American actor, film director, and political activist. Glover is perhaps best known for his role as Detective Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film franchise.-Early life:...

. Morrison later used Margaret Garner
Margaret Garner
Margaret Garner was an enslaved African American woman in pre-Civil War America who was notorious - or celebrated - for killing her own daughter rather than allow the child to be returned to slavery. She and her family had escaped in January 1856 across the frozen Ohio River to Cincinnati, but...

's life story again in the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner
Margaret Garner (opera)
Margaret Garner is an American opera loosely based on actual events in the life of runaway slave Margaret Garner. It was co-commissioned by the Michigan Opera Theatre, Cincinnati Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia. The music was composed by Richard Danielpour with a libretto in English by...

, with music by Richard Danielpour
Richard Danielpour
Richard Danielpour is an American composer.-Biography:Danielpour is born of Persian/Jewish descent. He studied at Oberlin College and the New England Conservatory of Music, and later at the Juilliard School of Music, where he received a DMA in composition in 1986...

. In May 2006, The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times Book Review is a weekly paper-magazine supplement to The New York Times in which current non-fiction and fiction books are reviewed. It is one of the most influential and widely read book review publications in the industry. The offices are located near Times Square in New York...

named Beloved the best American
American literature
American literature is the written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and its preceding colonies. For more specific discussions of poetry and theater, see Poetry of the United States and Theater in the United States. During its early history, America was a series of British...

 novel published in the previous twenty-five years.

In 1993 Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

. Her citation reads: Toni Morrison, "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality." She is currently the last American to have been awarded the honor. Shortly afterward, a fire destroyed her Rockland County, New York home.

In 1996 the National Endowment for the Humanities
National Endowment for the Humanities
The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency of the United States established by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. The NEH is located at...

 selected Morrison for the Jefferson Lecture
Jefferson Lecture
The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities is an honorary lecture series established in 1972 by the National Endowment for the Humanities . According to the NEH, the Lecture is "the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities."-History of...

, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities
Humanities
The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

. Morrison's lecture, entitled "The Future of Time: Literature and Diminished Expectations," began with the aphorism, "Time, it seems, has no future." She cautioned against the misuse of history to diminish expectations of the future.

Morrison was honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which is awarded to a writer "who has enriched our literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work."

Although her novels typically concentrate on black women, Morrison does not identify her works as feminist. She has stated that she thinks "it's off-putting to some readers, who may feel that I'm involved in writing some kind of feminist tract. I don't subscribe to patriarchy, and I don't think it should be substituted with matriarchy. I think it's a question of equitable access, and opening doors to all sorts of things."

In addition to her novels, Morrison has also co-written books for children with her younger son, Slade Morrison, who worked as a painter and musician. Slade died on December 22, 2010, aged 45.

Later life


Morrison taught English at two branches of the State University of New York
State University of New York
The State University of New York, abbreviated SUNY , is a system of public institutions of higher education in New York, United States. It is the largest comprehensive system of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the United States, with a total enrollment of 465,000 students, plus...

. In 1984 she was appointed to an Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer OM was a German theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. He was born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire...

 chair at the University at Albany, The State University of New York
University at Albany, The State University of New York
The State University of New York at Albany, also known as University at Albany, State University of New York, SUNY Albany or simply UAlbany, is a public university located in Albany, Guilderland, and East Greenbush, New York, United States; is the senior campus of the State University of New York ...

. From 1989 until her retirement in 2006, Morrison held the Robert F. Goheen
Robert F. Goheen
Robert Francis Goheen was an American academic, president of Princeton University and United States Ambassador to India.-Biography:...

 Chair in the Humanities at Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

.

Though based in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton, Morrison did not regularly offer writing workshops to students after the late 1990s, a fact that earned her some criticism. Rather, she has conceived and developed the prestigious Princeton Atelier, a program that brings together talented students with critically acclaimed, world-famous artists. Together the students and the artists produce works of art that are presented to the public after a semester of collaboration. In her position at Princeton
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, Morrison used her insights to encourage not merely new and emerging writers, but artists working to develop new forms of art through interdisciplinary play and cooperation.

At its 1979 commencement ceremonies, Barnard College
Barnard College
Barnard College is a private women's liberal arts college and a member of the Seven Sisters. Founded in 1889, Barnard has been affiliated with Columbia University since 1900. The campus stretches along Broadway between 116th and 120th Streets in the Morningside Heights neighborhood in the borough...

 awarded her its highest honor, the Barnard Medal of Distinction. Oxford University
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 awarded her an honorary
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

 Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters is a university academic degree, often a higher doctorate which is frequently awarded as an honorary degree in recognition of outstanding scholarship or other merits.-Commonwealth:...

 degree in June 2005.

In November 2006, Morrison visited the Louvre Museum in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 as the second in its "Grand Invité" program to guest-curate a month-long series of events across the arts on the theme of "The Foreigner's Home." Inspired by her curatorship, Morrison returned to Princeton
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 in Fall 2008 to lead a small seminar, also entitled "The Foreigner's Home."

In May 2010, Morrison appeared at PEN World Voices
PEN World Voices
PEN World Voices: The New York Festival of International Literature was launched in 2005. PEN World Voices is a week-long literary festival in New York City. The Festival was founded by Esther Allen and Michael Roberts under then PEN President Salman Rushdie. The Festival was composed of programs,...

 for a conversation with Marlene van Niekerk
Marlene van Niekerk
Marlene van Niekerk is a South African author who is best known for her novel Triomf. Her graphic and controversial descriptions of a poor Afrikaner family in Johannesburg brought her to the forefront of a post-apartheid society, still struggling to come to terms with all the changes in South...

 and Kwame Anthony Appiah
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Kwame Anthony Appiah is a Ghanaian-British-American philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist whose interests include political and moral theory, the philosophy of language and mind, and African intellectual history. Kwame Anthony Appiah grew up in Ghana and earned a Ph.D. at Cambridge...

 about South African literature, and specifically, van Niekerk's novel, Agaat.

In May 2011, Morrison received an Honorable Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters is a university academic degree, often a higher doctorate which is frequently awarded as an honorary degree in recognition of outstanding scholarship or other merits.-Commonwealth:...

 Degree from Rutgers University
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

 during commencement where she delivered a speech of the "pursuit of life, liberty, meaningfulness, integrity, and truth".

She is currently a member of the editorial board of The Nation magazine.

Politics


In writing about the impeachment in 1998
Impeachment of Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, President of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice on December 19, 1998, but acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of...

, Morrison wrote that, since Whitewater, Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 had been mistreated because of his "Blackness":

The phrase "our first Black president" was adopted as a positive by Bill Clinton supporters. When the Congressional Black Caucus
Congressional Black Caucus
The Congressional Black Caucus is an organization representing the black members of the United States Congress. Membership is exclusive to blacks, and its chair in the 112th Congress is Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri.-Aims:...

 honored the former president at its dinner in Washington D.C. on September 29, 2001, for instance, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Eddie Bernice Johnson is a politician from the state of Texas, currently representing the state's in the United States House of Representatives. She is the first registered nurse elected to the US Congress....

 (D-TX), the chair, told the audience that Clinton "took so many initiatives he made us think for a while we had elected the first black president."

In the context of the 2008 Democratic Primary campaign, Morrison stated to Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine: "People misunderstood that phrase. I was deploring the way in which President Clinton was being treated, vis-à-vis the sex scandal that was surrounding him. I said he was being treated like a black on the street, already guilty, already a perp. I have no idea what his real instincts are, in terms of race." In the Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 primary contest for the 2008 presidential race
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

, Morrison endorsed Senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 over Senator Hillary Clinton, though expressing admiration and respect for the latter.

Works



Novels

  • The Bluest Eye
    The Bluest Eye
    The Bluest Eye is a 1970 novel by American author Toni Morrison. It is Morrison's first novel, written while Morrison was teaching at Howard University and was raising her two sons on her own. The story is about a year in the life of a young black girl in Lorain, Ohio, named Pecola...

    (1970; ISBN 0-452-28706-5)
  • Sula
    Sula (novel)
    Sula is a 1973 novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.-Plot summary:The Bottom is a mostly black community in Ohio, situated in the hills above the mostly white, wealthier community of Medallion. The Bottom first became a community when a master gave it to his former slave...

    (1974; ISBN 1-4000-3343-8)
  • Song of Solomon
    Song of Solomon (novel)
    Song of Solomon is a 1977 novel by American author Toni Morrison. It follows the life of Macon "Milkman" Dead III, an African-American male living in Michigan, from birth to adulthood....

    (1977; ISBN 1-4000-3342-X)
  • Tar Baby
    Tar Baby (novel)
    -Plot introduction:This novel portrays a love affair between Jadine and Son, two Black Americans from very different worlds. Jadine is a beautiful Sorbonne graduate and fashion model who has been sponsored into wealth and privilege by the Streets, a wealthy white family who employ Jadine's aunt and...

    (1981; ISBN 1-4000-3344-6)
  • Beloved
    Beloved (novel)
    Beloved is a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison, published in 1987. Set in 1873 just after the American Civil War , it is based on the story of the African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a free state...

    (1987; ISBN 1-4000-3341-1)
  • Jazz
    Jazz (novel)
    Jazz is a 1992 historical novel by Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning American author Toni Morrison. The majority of the narrative takes place in Harlem during the 1920s, however, as the pasts of the various characters are explored, the narrative extends back to the mid-19th century American...

    (1992; ISBN 1-4000-7621-8)
  • Paradise
    Paradise (novel)
    Paradise is a 1997 novel by Toni Morrison, and her first novel since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. According to the author, it completes a "trilogy" that begins with Beloved and includes Jazz....

    (1997; ISBN 0-679-43374-0)
  • Love
    Love (Toni Morrison novel)
    Love is the eighth novel by Toni Morrison. In her non-linear style, the lives of several women and their relationships to the late Bill Cosey unfold....

    (2003; ISBN 0-375-40944-0)
  • A Mercy
    A Mercy
    A Mercy is Toni Morrison's 9th novel. It was first published in 2008. A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery in early America. It is both the story of mothers and daughters and the story of a primitive America. It made the New York Times Book Review list of "10 Best Books of 2008"...

    (2008; ISBN 978-0-307-26423-7)
  • Home (2012)

Children's literature (with Slade Morrison)

  • The Big Box (1999)
  • The Book of Mean People (2002)

Plays

  • Dreaming Emmett (performed 1986)
  • Desdemona
    Desdemona (play)
    Desdemona is a play by Toni Morrison. It was first produced in Vienna in May 2011.The title character of the play is Desdemona, the wife of the title character in Shakespeare's Othello....

     (first performed 15 May 2011 in Vienna
    Vienna
    Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

    )

Non-fiction

  • The Black Book (1974)
  • Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992)
  • Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality (editor) (1992)
  • Birth of a Nation'hood: Gaze, Script, and Spectacle in the O.J. Simpson Case (co-editor) (1997)
  • Remember: The Journey to School Integration (April 2004)
  • What Moves at the Margin: Selected Nonfiction, edited by Carolyn C. Denard (April 2008)
  • Burn This Book: Essay Anthology, editor (2009)

Articles

  • "Introduction." Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. [1885] The Oxford Mark Twain, edited by Shelley Fisher Fishkin. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996, pp. xxxii-xli.

Awards


  • 1977 National Book Critics Circle Award
    National Book Critics Circle Award
    The National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle to promote the finest books and reviews published in English....

     for Song of Solomon
  • 1977 American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award
  • 1987-88 Robert F. Kennedy
    Robert F. Kennedy
    Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

     Book Award
  • 1988 Helmerich Award
    Helmerich Award
    The Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award is an American literary prize awarded by the Tulsa Library Trust in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is bestowed annually upon an "internationally acclaimed" author who has "written a distinguished body of work and made a major contribution to the field of...

  • 1988 American Book Award
    American Book Award
    The American Book Award was established in 1978 by the Before Columbus Foundation. It seeks to recognize outstanding literary achievement by contemporary American authors, without restriction to race, sex, ethnic background, or genre...

     for Beloved
  • 1988 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Race Relations for Beloved
    Beloved (novel)
    Beloved is a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison, published in 1987. Set in 1873 just after the American Civil War , it is based on the story of the African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a free state...

  • 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
    Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
    The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. It originated as the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, which was awarded between 1918 and 1947.-1910s:...

     for Beloved
    Beloved (novel)
    Beloved is a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison, published in 1987. Set in 1873 just after the American Civil War , it is based on the story of the African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a free state...

  • 1988 Frederic G. Melcher Book Award for Beloved. A remark in her acceptance speech that “there is no suitable memorial or plaque or wreath or wall or park or skyscraper lobby” honoring the memory of the human beings forced into slavery and brought to the United States. “There’s no small bench by the road,” led the Toni Morrison Society to begin installing benches at significant sites in the history of slavery in America; the first “bench by the road” was dedicated July 26, 2008 on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina
    Sullivan's Island, South Carolina
    Sullivan's Island is a town in Charleston County, South Carolina, United States, on a similarly named island at the entrance to Charleston Harbor. The population was 1,911 at the 2000 census. It is also the site of a major battle of the American Revolution at Fort Sullivan on June 28, 1776. As...

    , the point of entry for approximately 40 percent of the enslaved Africans brought to British North America
    British North America
    British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

    .
  • 1989 MLA
    Modern Language Association
    The Modern Language Association of America is the principal professional association in the United States for scholars of language and literature...

     Commonwealth Award in Literature
  • 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature
  • 1993 Commander of the Arts and Letters, Paris
    Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
    The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is an Order of France, established on 2 May 1957 by the Minister of Culture, and confirmed as part of the Ordre national du Mérite by President Charles de Gaulle in 1963...

  • 1994 Condorcet Medal, Paris
  • 1994 Pearl Buck Award
    Pearl Buck Award
    The Pearl Buck Award is distributed by the Sino-American Foundation for the Advancement of Hermeneutical Studies to teachers who have made innovation or shown excellence in the adaptation of current evidence based teaching practices in high schools. The award is named for Pearl S...

  • 1994 Rhegium Julii Prize for Literature
  • 1996 Jefferson Lecture
    Jefferson Lecture
    The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities is an honorary lecture series established in 1972 by the National Endowment for the Humanities . According to the NEH, the Lecture is "the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities."-History of...

  • 1996 National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
  • 2000 National Humanities Medal
    National Humanities Medal
    The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.The award, given by the...

  • 2002 100 Greatest African Americans
    100 Greatest African Americans
    100 Greatest African Americans is a biographical dictionary of the one hundred historically greatest African Americans , as assessed by Molefi Kete Asante in 2002.-Criteria:...

    , list by Molefi Kete Asante
    Molefi Kete Asante
    Molefi Kete Asante is an African-American scholar, historian, and philosopher. He is a leading figure in the fields of African American studies, African Studies and Communication Studies...

    .
  • 2005 Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University.
  • 2009 Norman Mailer Prize
    Norman Mailer Prize
    The Norman Mailer Prize or Mailer Prize is an American literary award established in 2009 by The Norman Mailer Center and The Norman Mailer Writers Colony to celebrate writers and their works...

    , Lifetime Achievement
  • 2011 Honorary Doctor of Letters at Rutgers University Graduation Commencement.
  • 2011 Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Geneva
    University of Geneva
    The University of Geneva is a public research university located in Geneva, Switzerland.It was founded in 1559 by John Calvin, as a theological seminary and law school. It remained focused on theology until the 17th century, when it became a center for Enlightenment scholarship. In 1873, it...

    .

Nominations

  • Grammy Awards 2008 Best Spoken Word Album for Children - "Who's Got Game? The Ant or the Grasshopper? The Lion or the Mouse? Poppy or the Snake?"

See also


  • American Literature
    American literature
    American literature is the written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and its preceding colonies. For more specific discussions of poetry and theater, see Poetry of the United States and Theater in the United States. During its early history, America was a series of British...

  • African American literature
    African American literature
    African-American literature is the body of literature produced in the United States by writers of African descent. The genre traces its origins to the works of such late 18th century writers as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano, reaching early high points with slave narratives and the Harlem...

  • Black Nobel Prize laureates
  • List of female Nobel laureates
  • Good Hair (African American Usage)

External links