Dec 25, 2019
In special broadcast, we spend the hour remembering Toni Morrison, one of the nation’s most influential writers, who died in August at the age of 88 from complications of pneumonia. In 1993, Toni Morrison became the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. She also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her classic work Beloved. Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio, in 1931. She did not publish her first novel, “The Bluest Eye”, until she was 39 years old. She wrote it while taking care of her two young sons as a single mother and juggling a day job as a book editor at Random House. As an editor, she is widely credited with helping widen the literary stage for African Americans and feminists. Much of Morrison’s writing focused on the female black experience in America. Her work was deeply concerned with race and history, especially the sin of transatlantic slavery and the potentially restorative power of community. In 2012, President Obama awarded Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Upon her death, he said, “Toni Morrison was a national treasure. Her writing was not just beautiful but meaningful — a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy.” Today we remember Toni Morrison through those who knew and loved her – editors, writers, musicians – with highlights from a celebration of her life on November 21 at Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. We hear from Oprah Winfrey, Edwidge Dandicat, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kevin Young, and David Remnick.