I was shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of author Toni Morrison on August 5. She was 88 years old.
Ms. Morrison was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford in Lorain, Ohio in 1931. “She became a Catholic at the age of 12 and took the baptismal name Anthony (after Anthony of Padua), which led to her nickname, Toni.” (Wikipedia: Saint Anthony of Padua was a Portuguese Franciscan Catholic; born as Fernando Martins de Bulhões.) “Toni” married Harold Morrison in 1958.
Ms. Morrison received her B.A. in English from Howard University in 1953, her M.A. in American Literature from Cornell University in 1955, an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from the University of Oxford in 2005, and an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from Rutgers University-New Brunswick in 2011. Ms. Morrison was the recipient of many awards and honors as a writer and was the first black woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.
In response to the passing of Ms. Morrison, people have decided to reread some of her books or read some for the first time (a plan shared with me by a Lemoi Hardware employee). I opted to read Ms. Morrison’s first novel, “The Bluest Eye.”
“The Bluest Eye” is about a young, dark-skin black girl, who believes that her life will be much better (will change) if she has blue eyes. Internalized racism.
This story reveals the influences on the life and lives around this girl from childhood to adulthood: skin color, clothing, hair, build, friends, enemies, parents, neighbors, teachers, storekeepers, strangers, housing, poverty, tasks and food.
In poetic language Ms. Morrison presents a world that is not always kind and brings to life experiences that many people of color have had and have. It is certainly a novel worth reading or rereading. Ms. Morrison, eternally ours.