I haven't yet written about the death of Toni Morrison. Mostly because there is nothing I could say that adds to all that has been written. I only hope that she knew during her life how influential she was to so many.
As a white woman, I lay no claim to her. But reading her words in college were some of the first times I began to understand that I lived inside just a fragment of the world. And that there was so much more that I would never live or breathe or fully understand. Her words began to teach me about power and privilege and responsibility, and were a gateway to more necessary education.
To read more about Toni, from those who have said it more eloquently:
And some of my favorite quotes from Toni herself:
“Navigating a white, male world wasn’t threatening. It wasn’t even interesting, I was more interesting than they were, and I wasn’t afraid to show it.”
“I tell my students, ’When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.” ― O, The Oprah Magazine, 2003
“I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.” ― The Nation, 2015