The death of Toni Morrison, one of the most influential contemporary authors, leaves a tremendous vacuum not only in world literature but in society as a whole
The Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, all and many more prestigious awards had her name on them: Toni Morrison (or Chloe Ardelia Wofford by her birth name) was one of the most brightly shining lights in 20th and 21st century literature. She was also a beacon for civil rights. On Monday, August 5th, 2019, the author of “Beloved” and other immortal works, has died at the age of 88.
Her passing could not have come at a worse time, when the United States, and many other Western countries in its wake, are grappling with resurging racism and division, and there are increasingly fewer voices that are respected on both sides. Toni was one of them. She had always been proud of her Black identity, and was invariably outspoken about equal rights for everyone born in this world, but she did so with wisdom and heart, yielding the pen as her weapon. She was universally treasured, loved, and listened to.
Her biography is well known, and much will be said in the coming days, weeks and years about Toni Morrison. Instead of retelling her story one more time, we prefer to remember this extraordinary woman by her irrepressible desire for freedom and her indomitable lust for words. She analyzed life, people, and situations with laser sharp precision, and she always struck the right tone between combative and encouraging. Her candid lucidity, wrapped in awe-inspiringly beautiful poetry, will be sorely missed.
Toni Morrison was a national treasure, as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while. pic.twitter.com/JG7Jgu4p9t
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 6, 2019