For Toni Morrison, Storytelling Was The Measure Of Life
obel and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison has passed away. She was 88. Though Morrison is no longer with us, her story and all that she accomplished in her profound life will live on forever. Toni Morrison’s documentary, legacy and quotes present a woman determined to tell her own story. Though many of us were first introduced to the Ohio native in the classroom– Morrison’s story began long before her birth in 1931. She was born into a family who valued literacy above all else.
In the recent film, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am--we learn about a woman who loved literature, language, and Black people so much that she wanted to share it with the world. However, Morrison’s entry into the world of publishing was not a straight path. She did not pen her first novel, The Bluest Eye, until she was nearly 40 years old.
In The Pieces I Am, we learn about the Nobel Prize winner’s background. Though she was born into an impoverished family–her people were proud and brilliant. Morrison learned to read at age three. Because of the tight-leash that her parents had on her, and her desire to explore–she knew that to spread her wings, she needed to leave Ohio behind.
Morrison’s journey to find herself would lead her to Washington, D.C.’s Howard University. As Morrison said in 1987’s Beloved, “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” Though she was always an avid reader–Morrison was increasingly aware that Black female voices were virtually non-existent in the literature space.
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Image. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.