Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019) achieved what few writers have accomplished: National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, and in 1993, the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Her story is remarkable. As a single mother, she began writing fiction after she realized there were no novels available that spoke to her experience.
In a 1981 speech to the Ohio Arts Council, she said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” And so she did. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, set in 1941, was published in 1970. The protagonist, a young African-American girl named Pecola, dislikes herself because of her dark skin.
Writing in The New York Times, activist and scholar Angela Davis and a colleague, Farah Jasmine Griffin, observe that Pecola,
“. . . Has internalized the culture at large, which, essentially,…