Forever remember, Toni Morrison: Happy Birthday


It is normal to remember the date of someone’s passing but to recall their date of birth in many ways celebrates a life and its full importance. It heightens their relevance, and above all tells a story; a historical narrative that helps build a picture of a life fantastically lived.

Toni Morrison was born on the 18th February 1931 during the prohibition years, a period in time where Americans were forced to abstain from alcohol in public. Toni Morrison’s life, in the eyes of those around her, did not reflect that time. She would be a literal force in the world she encountered and would never abstain from writing about her people she knew and who cried out to be heard.

Toni Morrison would go on to become the first African American women to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. The award recognized the multi-dimensional world her characters existed in and how much they mirrored the lived experiences of those within the African American culture.

From her ‘Songs of Solomon’ to ‘Beloved’ books, Toni Morrison’s writing shed light on areas untold and provided life to an area regarded to be well outside of the mainstream. And despite being questioned by the ‘white cultural elite’ as to why she wrote about black characters, she, not only would not be distracted or deterred from her position, but would gently yet forcibly explain that such a question would never be put to a white writer.

Morrison’s writing enabled her to to step back in time give feeling and empathy to lives lived in a historical context, with all of its pain, suffering and love.

Emotions, many of us still feel today within their modern post colonial constraints.

Toni Morrison is, and will be for a long time to come regarded as a great within the world of literature. Remember her for how she helped us understand our being and continue to share her work.

Happy Birthday Toni Morrison.

Rodney Reid