Nobel and Pulitzer prize winner, Toni Morrison left us on Monday peacefully. She was eighty-eight years old and was battling a short illness. Her publisher informed that she was surrounded by her loved ones at the last hour. She was being treated at a hospital in Bronx, New York.
A renowned author of ‘black experience,’ Toni Morrison used literature as a medium to protest against racism. She sought justice for her community through thought and reason. Her books are true mirrors of American society. They show its struggle with racism, slavery, and misogyny.
Her struggle for equality
Toni penned her first novel, ‘The Bluest Eye’ in 1970. It highlights the loss of identity and self-worth among the African Americans and distorted beauty standards of the society. Later, she got recognition when she wrote ‘Beloved’ in 1987. It was a story about a slave who decides to kill her baby so it never becomes a slave. This marvelous work won her a Pulitzer Prize.
She went on to write many fictions and non-fiction works such as Song of the Soloman, Jazz, Paradise, The Black Book, Sula and many more. When her son, Slade Morrison died of cancer, she dedicated the novel ‘Home’ to him. Her novels often featured woman protagonists and exclusively their struggle but still, she refused to be called a ‘feminist.’
Her collected works won her a Nobel Prize in 1993 and the committee commemorated her by saying that her work evokes sympathy, humanity and profound humor. She was the first black woman to win the prize.
Apart from being a writer, Toni worked as an Editor at The Random House. She also ventured in the education field and taught at Texas State University and Harvard, her Alma mater. She was also a professor emeritus at Princeton University.
Toni’s social and political life
Toni was an active member of society. Moreover, she was never afraid to raise her voice and stand for others. She showed her jolly nature when she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show multiple times.
She was also the loud supporter of Barack Obama when he ran for the President’s Election. After Obama’s win, she exclaimed that for the first time she felt like an American. Both Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama showed their grief through twitter. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award, by Barack Obama in 2012. We pray and mourn for the world as we are one less star now.