Toni Morrison Taught Me

August 13, 2019 at 9:41 am Leave a comment

Toni Morrison (February 18, 1931 – August 5, 2019)

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Last week was another difficult week. We have experienced so many heavy feelings in the past days. Of these moments, I want to start with a reflection about Toni Morrison.

On Tuesday morning while I was at work, I learned of her passing. A pain grew inside me; I almost cried at my desk. Toni Morrison is a towering figure in literature, in Black Studies, in feminism, in life in general. Many argue that she was the best American author ever. I looked around my desk for signs of shock. After I surmised that I was the only one in that state, I shared the news with those around me. A couple of people stopped and acknowledged the moment for a few seconds.
This experience reminds me of when I learned of Maya Angelou’s passing back in 2014. I was at a workshop of a social justice conference in Chicago. Someone interrupted the session to tell us about her death. Many of us were shaken; several people openly cried. We had lost family. Together we reflected on the many moments where Angelou had shaped our lives. At the time, I felt that I was with people who cared about us, about me.
Morrison’s contributions have shaped my thinking, curatorial praxis, and activism deeply. One chief lesson she has imparted on me – she has made me stronger, more unapologetic about my conviction to center Black people in everything I do. Because of her fierce brilliance, I routinely ask myself: “How can I make this project care for Black folks?” This orientation, which aligns with the praxis of other leading Black women thinkers, such as Audre Lorde, Saidiya Hartman, and Christina Sharpe, involves representation, however it also operates beyond representation. This deeper liberatory work entails connection, commitment, understanding, love.
Those of us who care about one another create our own spaces of care, remembering, honoring, feeling, community. Toni Morrison taught me that.
She was/is a powerful force.
Rest in Power, Toni Morrison! ❤👊🏿

#ToniMorrison #tonimorrisonallday #beloved #amercy #songofsolomon #sula #careaspraxis #careistheantidotetoviolence #ToniMorrisonFanGirl 💔

Entry filed under: Art.

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