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The Most Formidable Mind of Our Times.’ Tayari Jones Honors Toni Morrison’s Work and Legacy

Black Women in History

The Most Formidable Mind of Our Times.’ Tayari Jones Honors Toni Morrison’s Work and Legacy

via https://time.com/

I have never been to Lorain, Ohio, but it has been on my bucket list for 20 years at least. I’m curious about this town, population 64,000, located 120 miles north of Columbus, at the mouth of Black River. One of my students drove across the country, passing through the town with which I was so infatuated. I asked her to bring me back a small sample of dirt. It isn’t rich and loamy, as I imagined it would be. Instead, it is the soft brown of cocoa powder, grainy and dry. Still, I keep it on my writing desk, sealed in a tiny jar that once held baby food. This earth, scooped from the hometown of Toni Morrison is my totem.

Toni Morrison, who died at the age of 88 on Aug. 5, is not the first black woman writer I ever encountered. Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye, begins with an excerpt from the Dick and Jane books, indicting the compulsory whiteness of American education in the 1950s and its sickening effect on children. Born in 1970, I grew up with a steady diet of fiction and poetry by writers who …

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Chrysalis

I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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