Beloved. That is what I think of when I hear her name. Toni Morrison, known mostly for her intellect and ability to view human nature for what it was passed away on August 6th at the age of 88. She won a Nobel Peace Prize for her literature and a Medal of Freedom from President Obama. What mostly rings in my memory was her powerful use of language and her intellect. Ranked with minds and wordsmiths like Maya Angelou and Dr. Cornell West, she sought clarity among the human race. “Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created,” she said.
I choose to leave you with some of her quotes and ideals she placed upon us in this life. Take in what she said and honor the memory and legacy of a powerful woman. Thank you for your contribution to the world and to us who picked up a book and read it or pen and wrote it and let our words flow.
As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think
“The real enemy is, and to know the function, the very serious function of racism which is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining over and over again, your reason for being“. Toni Morrison Portland Commencement Speech 1975
You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” Beloved
“You think because he doesn’t love you that you are worthless. You think that because he doesn’t want you anymore that he is right — that his judgement and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage. You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Don’t. It’s a bad word, ‘belong.’ Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn’t be like that. Did you ever see the way the clouds love a mountain? They circle all around it; sometimes you can’t even see the mountain for the clouds. But you know what? You go up top and what do you see? His head. The clouds never cover the head. His head pokes through, because the clouds let him; they don’t wrap him up. They let him keep his head up high, free, with nothing to hide him or bind him. You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.”