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Nobel Laureate Dr. Toni Morrison: A Comprehensive Look — Her Life; Her Work; Her New Novel, “God Help The Child”, 2015; and the Construction of Racism — by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino

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Dr. Toni Morrison at home in New York, 1979. Photographs by Jack Mitchell.

The Pulitzer Prize 1988— The American Book Award 1988— The Nobel Prize in Literature 1993— The Presidential Medal of Freedom 2012— “100 Greatest Writers of All Time”— Author and Professor Dr. Toni Morrison is the first and only African-American woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature, and her 1987 novel Beloved was recognized as the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years.

 Nobel Laureate Dr. Toni Morrison doesn’t need to write another book. She’s published ten celebrated fiction novels, among other extensive and comprehensive bodies of work; and she won every award there is to win as an author. Her 11th novel, entitled God Help the Child, has been announced for its official release date, April 21, 2015; which will soon reveal she has written the best book of 2015.

  “What you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”
—Dr. Toni Morrison, God Help the Child, 2015

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Dr. Toni Morrison, God Help the Child; official release date, April 21, 2015

Synopsis of the book: Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the center: a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish Booker, the man Bride loves and loses, whose core of anger was born in the wake of the childhood murder of his beloved brother Rain, the mysterious white child, who finds in Bride the only person she can talk to about the abuse she’s suffered at the hands of her prostitute mother and Sweetness, Bride’s mother, who takes a lifetime to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”

All Photographs (unless indicated) by Celebrity Photojournalist Lisa Pacino of Under The Duvet Productions, NY. All Rights Reserved.

PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to share any of our photographs for Social Media and/or personal use they are not to be altered in any way. It must be “as is”, with photo name credit, not cropped, no filters, or adjusted. They are not to be used in collages or any other formats. If needed for commercial and/or promotional use please email us to license. Thank you. Email: UnderTheDuvetProductions@gmail.com

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Dr. Toni Morrison at The Metropolitan Opera Guild Luncheon, celebrating opera soprano Jessye Norman, entitled “Brava Jessye!”, Waldorf Astoria, New York, November 17, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison at The Metropolitan Opera Guild Luncheon, celebrating opera soprano Jessye Norman, entitled “Brava Jessye!”, Waldorf Astoria, New York, November 17, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison at The Metropolitan Opera Guild Luncheon, celebrating opera soprano Jessye Norman, entitled “Brava Jessye!”, Waldorf Astoria, New York, November 17, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison at The Metropolitan Opera Guild Luncheon, celebrating opera soprano Jessye Norman, entitled “Brava Jessye!”, Waldorf Astoria, New York, November 17, 2014. Photograph of Toni Morrison & Jessye Norman by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison at The Metropolitan Opera Guild Luncheon, celebrating opera soprano Jessye Norman, entitled “Brava Jessye!”, Waldorf Astoria, New York, November 17, 2014. Photograph of Toni Morrison & legendary opera tenor George Shirley by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison with Professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Memorial for Dr. Maya Angelou, The Riverside Church, New York, September 12, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison speaking at the Memorial for Dr. Maya Angelou, The Riverside Church, New York, September 12, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison speaking at the Memorial for Dr. Maya Angelou, The Riverside Church, New York, September 12, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison speaking at the Memorial for Dr. Maya Angelou, The Riverside Church, New York, September 12, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison, the Memorial for Dr. Maya Angelou, The Riverside Church, New York, September 12, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison autographing her books after her discussion at the New York Public Library (NYPL), moderated by Junot Diaz, New York, December 13, 2013. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison after her discussion at the New York Public Library (NYPL), moderated by Junot Diaz, New York, December 13, 2013. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Dr. Toni Morrison autographing her books after her discussion at the New York Public Library (NYPL), moderated by Junot Diaz, New York, December 13, 2013. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Nobel Laureates Dr. Toni Morrison and Rita Dove, (joined by Sonia Sanchez & Ruth Naomi Floyd), Philadelphia, PA, November 6, 2013. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

Article and Photographs by Celebrity Photojournalist Lisa Pacino of Under The Duvet Productions, NY, (except photos indicated).
All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Toni Morrison: QUOTES

“I am really Chloe Anthony Wofford. That’s who I am. I have been writing under this other person’s name. I write some things now as Chloe Wofford, private things. I regret having called myself Toni Morrison when I published my first novel, The Bluest Eye.” ―Dr. Toni Morrison
 “Each night, without fail, she prayed for blue eyes. Fervently, for a year she had prayed. Although somewhat discouraged, she was not without hope. To have something as wonderful as that would take a long, long time.” ―Dr. Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, 1970
(
The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, has remained on the top 100 banned books list in America, and it is not fully protected by the First Amendment. The right to own a gun has never been banned in America and is fully protected by the Second Amendment since 1791)
“Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do.” ―Dr. Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, 1970
“It is sheer good fortune to miss somebody long before they leave you.” ―Dr. Toni Morrison, Sula, 1973
“To get to a place where you could love anything you chose, not to need permission for desire, well now that is freedom.” ―Dr. Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1988
“Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge.” ―Dr. Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize in Literature, December 7, 1993
“In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.” ―Dr. Toni Morrison
“The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.” ―Dr. Toni Morrison
“Wisdom is a gift; you can’t train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace–that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.” ―Dr. Toni Morrison, 2008

  Dr. Toni Morrison in RETROSPECT:
(Bio, Awards, Accolades, Bodies of Work, and Racism)

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BELOVED by Dr. Toni Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. The PEN American Center Auction, “First Editions/Second Thoughts”, Christies, New York, Tuesday, December 2, 2014, Lot Description, MORRISON, Toni (b. 1931). Beloved. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987. 8°. Original cloth; dust jacket, inscribed & autographed, sold for 19,000. US Dollars. Photo courtesy of Christies, NY.

Beloved by Dr. Toni Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.

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Dr. Toni Morrison receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature from the King at the Swedish Academy, Sweden, October 7, 1993. Photo courtesy of the Nobel Prize Academy.

“It’s my privilege and pleasure on behalf of the Swedish Academy, to convey to you our warmest congratulations on the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1993 and to invite you to receive the prize from the hands of his majesty, the King.” ―The Swedish Academy presenting Dr. Morrison with the Nobel Prize in Literature, Sweden, October 7, 1993.

Dr. Toni Morrison is the first and only African-American woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature “who, in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”

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Dr. Toni Morrison Receives The Presidential Medal Of Freedom from President Barack Obama, Washington, D.C., May 29, 2012. Photo courtesy of the White House.

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Dr. Toni Morrison Receives The Presidential Medal Of Freedom from President Barack Obama, Washington, D.C., May 29, 2012. Photo courtesy of the White House.

Dr. Toni Morrison Receives The Presidential Medal Of Freedom from President Barack Obama, Washington, D.C., May 29, 2012.

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Dr. Toni Morrison, New York, 1979. Photograph by Jack Mitchell.

 Toni drops knowledge on The Colbert Report. The Construction of Racism.

“There is no such thing as race. None. There is just a human race — scientifically, anthropologically. Racism is a construct, a social construct…. it has a social function, racism.” —Dr. Toni Morrison on The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert, New York, November 19, 2014

“I wanted to show how painful this constructed horrible racism was on the most vulnerable people in the society; girls, black girls, poor girls, and that it really and truly could hurt you.” —Dr. Toni Morrison on The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert, New York, November 19, 2014

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Dr. Toni Morrison with Oprah Winfrey, “Oprah’s Book Club”, 1996, for Song Of Solomon, Toni’s 1977 novel. Photo courtesy of ABC-TV.

The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, and Paradise are among Dr. Toni Morrison’s novels in Oprah Winfrey’s “Oprah’s Book Club”.

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Dr. Toni Morrison papers are now part of the permanent library collection at the University. Photo courtesy of Princeton University.

Dr. Toni Morrison the world renowned author served on the faculty at Princeton University in New Jersey for 17 years. As of 2014 the papers of Nobel laureate are now part of the permanent library collection at the University. Photo courtesy of Princeton University.

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Nobel laureates Rita Dove, Dr. Toni Morrison, and Dr. Maya Angelou. Photo via the internet.

Dr. Toni Morrison in discussion with Bill Moyers “A World Of Ideas”:
Part 1, March 11, 1990 & Part 2, March 23, 1990.

 

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Dr. Toni Morrison and James “Jimmy” Baldwin. Photo via internet.

”Our crown,” you said, ”has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear it.” And we do, Jimmy. You crowned us. —Dr. Toni Morrison’s Eulogy written for her friend James “Jimmy” Baldwin, entitled, James Baldwin: His Voice Remembered; Life in His Language,  New York, December 20, 1987

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Amiri Baraka, Dr. Maya Angelou, and Dr. Toni Morrison at James Baldwin’s funeral, New York, December 20, 1987. Photo via internet.

Photograph of Amiri Baraka, Dr. Maya Angelou, and Dr. Toni Morrison at James “Jimmy” Baldwin’s funeral, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, December 20, 1987 (James Baldwin passed away in France and is buried in Hartsdale, NY).
Remembering: James Baldwin (born James Arthur Balwin; August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987); Amiri Baraka (born Everett LeRoi Jones; October 7, 1934 – January 9, 2014); Dr. Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014)

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“It is sheer good fortune to miss somebody long before they leave you.” ―Dr. Toni Morrison, Sula, 1973. Photo courtesy of NY publisher.

Toni Morrison’s awards include the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, American Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award, Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, Anisfield Wolf Book Award in Race Relations, Modern Language Association of American Commonwealth Award in Literature, Commander of The Arts and Letters of Paris, Rhegium Julii Prize for Literature, Condorcet Medal, UCLA Medal, The Pearl Buck Award, Jefferson Lecture, National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, National Humanities Medal, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Grammy Award, Honorary Degrees, and countless more.

Dr. Toni Morrison: The Construction of Racism

 “Racism was and is a public mark of ignorance it was and is a monumental fraud. Racism was never the issue, profit and money always was…. The threat was always jobs, land and money. And when you take away to oppress and prevent you have to have a reason for despising your victim.” —Dr. Toni Morrison, Portland State University, May 30, 1975

 “The function, the very serious function of racism, is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language, so you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly, so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Someone says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”  —Dr. Toni Morrison, Portland State University, May 30, 1975

  “Racial ignorance is a prison from which there is no escape because there’re no doors…. Institutions, governments, homes all over the world who need to believe in their racism and need to have the victims of racism…. And they are very easily identified. They are the petulant ones who call themselves proud…. who call themselves just. They thrive on the failures of those unlike them; they are the ones who measure their wealth by the desperation of the poor…. They are in prisons of their own construction.” —Dr. Toni Morrison, Portland State University, May 30, 1975

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Dr. Toni Morrison in New York. Photo by Jack Mitchell. Graphics by Under The Duvet Productions.

Dr. Toni Morrison: A Short Bio

Dr. Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford; February 18, 1931; Lorain, Ohio) is an American novelist, editor, and professor. As a child, she read fervently; among her favorite authors were Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy. In 1949 Morrison entered Howard University, where she received a B.A. in English in 1953. She earned a Master of Arts degree in English from Cornell University in 1955. After graduation, Morrison became an English instructor at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas from 1955 to 1957; then returned to Howard to teach English. She became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. In 1958 she married Harold Morrison, a Jamaican architect and fellow faculty member at Howard University. They had two children, Harold Ford and Slade Kevin, and divorced in 1964. After the divorce she moved to Syracuse, New York, where she worked as a textbook editor. A year and a half later, she went to work as an editor at the New York City headquarters of Random House. She also taught at Yale University and Bard College during these years. As an editor, Morrison played a vital role in bringing black literature into the mainstream, editing books by authors such as Muhammad Ali, Henry Dumas, Toni Cade Bambara, Angela Davis, and Gayl Jones.

Toni began writing fiction as part of an informal group of poets and writers at Howard University who met to discuss their work. She attended one meeting with a short story about a black girl who longed to have blue eyes. She later developed the story as her first novel, The Bluest Eye published in 1970. She wrote it while raising two children and teaching at Howard. In 1975 her second novel, Sula from 1973, was nominated for the National Book Award. Her third novel, Song of Solomon in 1977, brought her national attention. The book was a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, the first novel by a black writer to be so chosen since Richard Wright’s Native Son in 1940. And it won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

In 1987 Morrison’s novel Beloved became a critical success winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the American Book Award. Beloved was adapted into the 1998 film of the same name starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. Toni later use Margaret Garner’s life story again in the libretto for a new, Margaret Garner, with music by Richard Danielpour in 2005.

In May 2006, The New York Times Book review named Beloved the best American novel published in the previous 25 years. 

 In 1993 Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her citation reads: Toni Morrison, “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” She is currently the last American to have been awarded the honor.
Author and Professor Dr. Toni Morrison is the first and only African-American woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature.

In 1996 the National Endowment for the Humanities selected Toni for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities. Her lecture, entitled “The Future of Time: Literature and Diminished Expectations,” began with the aphorism, “Time, it seems, has no future.” She cautioned against the misuse of history to diminish expectations of the future.  Toni was honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters,  which is awarded to a writer “who has enriched our literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work.”

In 2000, The Bluest Eye was chosen as a selection for Oprah’s Book Club; others were also chosen, such as Song of Solomon. In November 2006, Morrison visited the Louvre Museum in Paris as the second in its “Grand Invité” program to guest-curate a month-long series of events across the arts on the theme of “The Foreigner’s Home.” Inspired by her curatorship, Morrison returned to Princeton in Fall 2008 to lead a small seminar, also entitled “The Foreigner’s Home.”

She has received almost every award in literature; including the National Medal of Arts and Humanities in 2000, the PEN Literary Award in 2008, Honorable Doctor in Letters, Doctrines, Accolades, and more. A world renowned author she served on the faculty at Princeton University in New Jersey for 17 years. As of 2014 the papers of Nobel laureate Toni Morrison are now part of the permanent library collection at the University. In addition to her novels, she has written books for children with her younger son, Slade Morrison, who worked as a painter and musician. Her son Slade passed away on December 22, 2010, aged 45. Her novel Home, half-written when Slade passed away, is dedicated to him. Her 11th novel, entitled God Help the Child, has been announced for publication in April 2015.

Her masterpiece novels include ‘The Bluest Eye’ 1970, ‘Sula’ 1973, ‘Song of Solomon’ 1977, ‘Tar Baby’ 1981, ‘Beloved’ 1987, ‘Jazz’ 1992, ‘Paradise’ 1997, ‘Love’ 2003, ‘A Mercy’ 2008, ‘Home’ 2012, and ‘God Help The Child’ 2015.

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Dr. Toni Morrison with her sons Harold Ford Morrison & Slade Morrison, 1980s. Photo via internet.

TONI son Slade at her home in Spring Valley, NY. April 17, 1978.

Dr. Toni Morrison and her younger son Slade at their home in Spring Valley, NY. April 17, 1978. Her son Slade passed away on December 22, 2010, aged 45. Photo via internet.

Dr. Toni Morrison: “Does Your Face Light Up?” | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network
“Let your face speak what’s in your heart, because when they walk in the room I was glad to see them, it’s just as small as that.” —Dr. Toni Morrison

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Dr. Toni Morrison in New York, 1979. Photos by Jack Mitchell. Graphics by Under The Duvet Productions.

Article and Photographs by Celebrity Photojournalist Lisa Pacino of Under The Duvet Productions, NY (except photos indicated) Bio information paraphrased from source Wikipedia.

REMINDER: If you wish to share any of our photographs for personal use they are not to be altered in any way. It must be “as is”, with photo name credit, not cropped, no filters, or adjusted. They are not to be used in collages or any other formats. If needed for commercial and/or promotional use please email us to license. Thank you. Email: UnderTheDuvetProductions@gmail.com

Lisa Pacino and Under The Duvet Productions are based in New York. Photography services are available worldwide. To book and receive information please E-mail: UnderTheDuvetProductions@gmail.com

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Celebrity Photojournalist Lisa Pacino of Under The Duvet Productions, NY ©.

Website:

http://lisapacino.smugmug.com/

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