It was freshman year of college, in Fall 2006, when I was first introduced in more detail to Songs of Solomon. Tuesday, Toni Morrison, who won a Noble Prize in Literature in 1993, died at the age of 88. She will be remembered as not only one of the greatest African American Women writers but one of the most influential writers in American history.
Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Howard University and continued her studies at Cornell University. Eventually, she taught at Texas Southern University and Howard and was a longtime faculty member at Princeton University.
Toni Morrison’s writing focused on black history and identity. Her novels are a fixture in many classrooms when discussing black writers. Morrison received many accolades for her papers, which included eleven novels, essays, and children’s books. Former President Barack Obama honored Morrison when he awarded her in 2012 the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Some of the works include:
- Beloved– Written in 1987, Beloved tells the story of an African American slave woman who escaped slavery. In 1998, Oprah stared in the motion picture. Beloved won Morrison the 1988 Pulitzer Prize.
- Song of Solomon– This one of my favorite pieces of literature written by Morrison. It is the book that introduced her to me as a writer and black voice of change while in my undergrad studies. Song of Solomon won the 1977 National Book Critics Circle Award.
- Sula- This story follows two girls, Nel and Sula, from childhood to adulthood and describes the way societal norms test their deep bond. The story was published November 1973.
- Jazz– This novel tells the story of a love affair between Joe Trace, a fifty-year-old married waiter and part-time cosmetics salesman, and Dorcas, a seventeen-year-old girl. The novel was published in 1992.
- The Bluest Eye– Tells the story of a young African American girl named Pecola who grew up during the period of the great depression.
Toni Morrison will go down as one of the most influential voices in American literary history.