Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.
Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
February is Black History Month and Tell Me More observes the month with a series of short vignettes. In this installment, NPR's Monika Evstatieva shares her black history hero.
I'm Monika Evstatieva, an assistant producer and director here at Tell Me More, and my black history hero is the one and only Toni Morrison.
She has captivated millions of readers with her rich characters and stunning dialogues.
The novelist is the only living American winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. And she never shies away from addressing reality – as painful as it might be:
Racism will disappear when it's, A, no longer profitable, and no longer psychologically useful. But at the moment, people make a lot of money off of it, pro and con. And also, it protects people from a certain kind of pain. If you take racism away from certain people, they may have to face something really terrible, misery, self-misery, and deep pain about who they are.
I first read Beloved and A Mercy as a young adult after coming to the States from the Balkans. To me, her genius is storytelling that is so VIVID I could actually re-live a generation's...a nation's...joy and sorrow.
English author Edward Morgan Forster once said: "Creative writers are always greater than the causes they represent" ... and Toni Morrison is just that.