Literary Legend Toni Morrison Dead At 88

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Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison has died. She was 88. According to TMZ, the literary legend's publisher said that she passed away on Monday night (August 5th) surrounded by loved ones. Although the news was confirmed by her publisher and publicist, they haven't released a cause of death as of yet.

Her publisher said in a statement via NBC News, "We are profoundly sad to report that Toni Morrison has died at the age of eighty-eight. She died last night at Montefiore Medical Center in New York."

BIO

Morrison is most recognized for "The Bluest Eye", "Sula", "Song Solomon" and "Beloved", which was adapted into a film starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover in 1998.

Toni wrote 11 novels, many non-fiction books, five children books, two plays, two short fiction stories and one libretto. She wrote several essays and university papers.

She was the first African-American woman to win a Nobel Prize in literature in 1993. President Obama also awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Shortly after the election of Donald Trump, Morrison wrote an essay entitled "Mourning for Whiteness" -- calling out white supremacy.

A documentary about Morrison's life was made this year entitled Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.

She had two sons, Slade and Harold.

CELEBS REACT

Former president Barack Obama wrote a touching tribute to Morrison on Instagram, saying "Toni Morrison was a national treasure. Her writing was not just beautiful but meaningful—a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy. She was as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page."

He added "And so even as Michelle and I mourn her loss and send our warmest sympathies to her family and friends, we know that her stories—that our stories—will always be with us, and with those who come after, and on and on, for all time."

Oprah wrote via Instagram, "In the beginning was the Word. Toni Morrison took the word and turned it into a Song…of Solomon, of Sula, Beloved, Mercy, Paradise Love, and more. She was our conscience. Our seer. Our truth-teller." She added, "She was Empress-Supreme among writers. Long may her WORDS reign!"

Beyonce wrote on her website, "If you surrender to the air, you can ride it.' Rest in paradise."

MORE INFO ABOUT TONI MORRISON

Toni Morrison was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18, in Lorain, OH in 1931.

She took the name Toni from her baptismal name, Anthony and Morrison from her ex husband.

Morrison got her BA from Howard and MA from Cornell, become and educator and editor

She began writing fiction as part of an informal group of writers at Howard University

Toni married Harold Morrison in 1958. They welcomed their first child, son Harold, in 1961.

Morrison published her first novel, The Bluest Eye in 1970, launching a new career just as she turned 40.

Morrison was appointed to the National Council on the Arts in 1980.

In 1998, Beloved was turned into a movie, starring Oprah Winfrey.

In 1999, Morrison branched out to children's literature. She worked with her son Slade on The Big Box, The Book of Mean People (2002) and The Ant or the Grasshopper? (2003).

From 1989 until her retirement in 2006, Morrison held the Robert F. Goheen Chair in the Humanities at Princeton University.
On November 17, 2017, Princeton University dedicated Morrison Hall (a building previously called West College) in her honor.

(Sources: Biography, Wikipedia, Brittanica)

QUOTES

On letting go: "You wanna fly, you got to give up the sh*t that weighs you down."

On love: "Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all."

On black people: "I'm always annoyed about why black people have to bear the brunt of everybody else's contempt. If we are not totally understanding and smiling, suddenly we're demons."

On raising children: "You need a whole community to raise a child. I have raised two children, alone."

On her first novel: "I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it."

On Black Boys: "Black boys became criminalized. I was in constant dread for their lives, because they were targets everywhere. They still are."

SOUND

During her Nobel Prize speech, Toni Morrison on death and the meaning of life:

"We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives."