Toni Morrison, the legendary American author who created literature works on the black experience, has died at 88.
While being a single divorced mother of two, Morrison wrote classics such as Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, and Sula.
Born Chloe Ardelia Wofford, Morrison was the first black woman to receive the Nobel prize in 1993. The Swedish Academy called her a “visionary force” in literature and hailed her use of language. Her books are now taught in schools across the world.
She grew up in Lorain, Ohio, and attended school with children of various backgrounds, although many of them were immigrants. Racism, which came into play later in her life, would be her themes that spilled over into her novels.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, she once said, “When I was in first grade, nobody thought I was inferior. I was the only black in the class and the only child who could read.”
In 2012, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the former President Barack Obama, which is the loftiest US honor for a civilian.
The famous writer understood the publishing industry much better than other ordinary writers did; however, she refused to be defined by the establishment.
Morrison was one of the very few writers who wrote for an African-American audience. She understood that the ‘language’ could operate as one of the oppressive or uplifting forces.
Her novel ‘Beloved’ won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988, which was then made into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey.
In 1993, she encountered a personal tragedy when her home burned down. In 2010, her son Slade died at age 45 from pancreatic cancer. She worked with Slade on a series of children’s books. Slade was a visual artist whom she called a “brilliant writer.”