Remembering Toni Morrison, An Iconic American Author | NYT News

Posted by

“I didn’t discover why
I wrote really until later. At the very beginning, when I wrote the first book,
“The Bluest Eye,” I came at it as not a writer,
but a reader. And such a story didn’t exist. Every little homely,
black girl was a joke or didn’t exist in literature. And I was eager to read
about a story where racism really hurts
and can destroy you.” “You don’t think you will
ever change and write books that incorporate
white — white lives into them substantially?” “I have done.” “In a substantial way?” “You can’t understand
how powerfully racist that question is, can you? As you could never
ask a white author: ‘When are you going to write
about black people?’” “Toni Morrison’s prose
brings us that kind of moral and emotional intensity that few writers
ever attempt. From “Song of Solomon”
to “Beloved,” Toni reaches us deeply, using a tone that is
lyrical, precise, distinct and inclusive.” “There would never
have been a book club had there not been
you as an author.” “Really?” “No. So I thank you, Ms. Morrison.” “This is fabulous.” “Yes — never would have
been one without you. Never would have been.” “Well, you know, I’m trying
not to write just because I can or just write more. I’m trying to write less that
means more, that says more. For me it’s
extremely important for the clarification
not only of the past, but of who we are as
human beings in this country.” “I was editing a book
at Random House. And it was a kind of
scrapbook of all sorts of things that emanated from
African-American culture. And I came across this
woman, Margaret Garner, and the story was that a slave
woman had killed her children or tried to kill them all. What struck me was the theme
was that she was not crazy. And they were stunned
to find her A: articulate, B: sane and 3: interested
in doing it again.” “I know how to write forever. I don’t think I
could have happily stayed here with the
calamity that has occurred so often in the world if I did not have a way
of thinking about it, past, present, future, which is
what writing is for me. It’s control. Nobody tells me what to do. I am in control. It is my world. It’s sometimes wild, the process by which
I arrive at something. But nevertheless, it’s mine, it’s free and
it’s a way of thinking. It’s pure knowledge. You’re welcome.”


  1. Toni Morrison passing so shortly after recent racially motivated mass shootings is just very poetic. She is too good for this America. Her message and her beauty, sadly, something that racists will never ponder.

  2. What a great loss. Thank you Toni Morrison for sharing your insight, honesty, and artistry with all of us. I know it will continue to challenge and inspire and make us all a little bit more compassionate for generations to come.

  3. this woman and the feminist she was, is part of the reason black american women are the least married in the world… noone wants to marry an argumentitive feminist woman.. hence why toni died old and alone like most of these women will.. RIP ijs.. #Blah

  4. Who is she never heard of her any of her books any accomplishments but we are told to remeber her? What did she to for humanity did she cure cancer, end a war, create wealth for all ohh wrote a book oh wow rolls eyes. Maybe if she was a MLK I would care but I dont remebering the mass shooters who were all left wing liberals/ socialists the left is full of hate and violence since 1812

  5. I love how she read that reporter…she was a great thinker and teacher….and racism was one of the subjects…taught to the ones who are racist and may not know or maybe they did know….?

  6. A truly horrible, cruel, hateful person has finally gone. The world would have been better had she passed long ago. Let the worms befriend her.

  7. Toni Morrison is a true national treasure. An amazing writer. So wise, eloquent, profound, and poignant. She has left a remarkable legacy. We will miss her very much.

  8. Something special about this sweet lady awesome author she will be missed an that's on GOD? Sweet Home ✨
    Miss you so much!

  9. The Russian bots in this comment section are really trying to politicize the death of a literary icon to divide Americans. It is so apparent, it’s pathetic. Go away. Insert your nonsense in another country’s political discourse. Oh, wait. You are. ?

  10. Mama Toni is one of the most beautiful humans to ever grace us with her presence. Brilliant, charming, witty, direct, powerful, stunning, and full of grace. I am so proud. I am so grateful. Thank you mother Toni

  11. The world has lost a very gifted woman with great insight. May she rest in peace and always remain in our hearts and our memories.

  12. There will never be another like her. What a voice (both figuratively and literately, since listening to her speak is as wonderfully soothing as reading her work is invigorating). Rest in Peace, Toni.

  13. Only because she was black! And all she ever wrote about was racism and being a black person in society. Not a very knowledgeable or versatile writer. Always harping about the same old $#$% !!!

  14. Last year I was introduced to her by "The Bluest Eye" and it's a meticulous sight into African American society in the late 30s-40s. Now I look forward to reading her other work. Also, if you avidly read her work could you comment your favorite of hers. Thank you!

  15. Goodbye to my all time favorite author who challenged my thoughts & ideas at every sentence.
    Feb 18, 1931- August 5, 2019 ?

  16. People name of god please help I mama we trou Baku we nau Georgia Tbilisi all humanitarian foundation say we cannot help +995574194003 bir aile faciesi



  19. The bluest eye is her best work ; better than SOS and Beloved. It's a transcendent story told in a manner that penetrates acutely , has one's senses writhing with discomfort and by the time you're through, there's no disambiguation left , the reader covenants a visceral accord with the author and understanding attains.

  20. SULA
    Appropriately, Shadrack is the first major character to be introduced in the novel. He is Sula's ancestral presence – a representation of an ancestral spirit, a husband, a father, a provider dispensed by the gods to "always" be there for

    the displaced Sula. Theirs was a spiritual kinship – metaphorically, a marriage of traditional West African water spirit/priest to a water priestess, both oracles of a river god. Shadrack's divine nature results from his state of unconsciousness as a

    victim of shell-shock during World War I. In traditional West African culture when one had lain unconscious for many days, people believed that that

    person's spirit left the physical body and entered the ancestral world where he or she became an active participant. Physically surviving the state of

    unconsciousness bestowed no insanity upon the person – no matter how eccentric or erratic the behavior following the onset. On the contrary, unconsciousness bestowed a specialness and a spirituality, since the unconscious

    person had communed directly with the ancestral spirits.

  21. You know she talks about how important race is and stuff but she just told a reporter that how incredibly racist yes what do you mean

  22. I will miss u morrison. When i was younger i did not understand beloved but when i got older i understood, and it is one of the greatest love stories told. Paradise and poached eggs….LoL

    thank you

  23. Ms. Morrison's response to the white interviewer's question was so powerful, in part because it was so simply stated. If there's ever a course called Racism 101, those few seconds should be part of it.

  24. After I read The Bluest Eye I devoured every other work I could find. She inspired me to think deeply and write slowly, to be sparing and exacting with words. She was so lovely and so powerful.

  25. It was only in Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved that I, as a white person, acquired a concept so profound it’s become a sort of template of understanding for me of how morbidly inhumane the human political animal can be and was during the American Civil War era.

    One example was the narrator’s note that the white northern states also hated black Americans but happened to hate any form of slavery even more.

    I began to see how this succinct summation of the ugliness of the politics of difference and scale can be applied elsewhere: e.g. they hate libertarians but hate liberals even more; they loath Semites but despise the Palestinians far more, or hate Hispanics but abhor the Chinese more so, etcetera, etcetera.

    But the novel also made clear that the children of slave holders had had their innocent minds terribly poisoned by their parents’ or guardians’ beliefs in their right to such living, breathing and suffering human “property that reproduced itself without cost”, like farm livestock.

  26. "Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life. The one who exercises Faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone that is living and exercises Faith in me will never die at all. Do you believe this?" (John 11: 25, 26) Rest in Peace Toni.

  27. This woman was a racist, anti-white, black supremacist who called for the killing of all whites on numerous occasions. She had absolutely no writing skills whatsoever and every student unfortunate enough to read any of it immediately becomes stupider and more narrow minded for it.
    This woman is a social and literary disgrace and shouldn't be venerated or appreciated whatsoever. GOOD RIDDANCE !!!

  28. Mainstream media barely acknowledged this brilliant womans passing and yet the internet was on fire with someone calling himself Nipsey Hustle, whom I had NEVER heard of UNTIL he died.

  29. I suppose it is a measure of Ms Morrison's greatness that so many ignorant morons are attacking her after her death who never even heard of her while she was alive. The troll armies have been activated by the new American Nazis to attack her memory just for the purpose of making it feel okay, normal even to demonize smart, tough, talented black women. Well go ahead, cowards. She's dead now. You can put on your big boy pants and pretend to be brave.

  30. An incredible woman and writer. I read "Beloved" at school (here in the UK in 1991, on our A-level English syllabus) and it was a story I never forgot. and one of the best novels in the last 50 years I think…

  31. Toni Morrison, aside from having won the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize, having served on faculty at Howard University, and being a Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, was first and foremost an AMERICAN. She doesn't rate the vitriol and hate so many, "People," on this vid are heaping on her. She. Did. Nothing. To. YOU. Rather, America is a better place because of Dr. Morrison, not worse. I suppose I don't get the hate. Do you hate her because she's a woman? Or do you hate her because she's an African-American? YOU really need to examine yourselves. What did a Black person ever do to you to cause YOU to hate? Before you attack the EARNED merits and accolades of a dead woman, you craven coward, first take a look at your own lives and accomplishments, compare them to hers, then Sierra Tango Foxtrot Union. Get. Help.

  32. I was a freshman in College, literally fresh off the boat from Venezuela; and there was a collective reading of Song of Solomon in all English classes and there would be discussion groups and events. Ms. Morrison's style reminded me very much of the Latin American Magical Realism perfected by Garcia Marquez, but hers was even more poignant because it spoke of race and racism in a way I had never experienced. It was in one of my College's event during this fateful month that they showed her interview with the British reporter sampled on this video at @0:58 and she literally took my breath away as if I had rediscover the very meaning of life…it was such an earth-shattering moment for me. She became my literary idol that very moment. Thank you Ms. Morrison for so much! My heart is still heavy for your loss. But you will, no doubt about it, live in every single word you ever wrote!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *