Visionary: Toni Morrison "It is not an understatement to suggest Black studies as a standalone field has a lot to do with the work that Toni Morrison did at Random House," Howard University Prof. Dana Williams told us.

We spoke with Williams and Paula Giddings, professor emerita at Smith College, about Morrison's legacy as an author, editor and mentor.

Want to support 1A? Give to your local public radio station and subscribe to this podcast. Have questions? Find us on Twitter @1A.
NPR logo

Visionary: Toni Morrison

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/749417010/749572282" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Visionary: Toni Morrison

1A

Visionary: Toni Morrison

Visionary: Toni Morrison

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/749417010/749572282" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

US author Toni Morrison poses during a reception sponsored by the US ambassador at his residence in Paris. PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES hide caption

toggle caption
PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

US author Toni Morrison poses during a reception sponsored by the US ambassador at his residence in Paris.

PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

This week, the world lost a seer.

Legendary writer Toni Morrison died Monday night in New York state at age 88. She was the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

She authored eleven novels — including "Beloved," which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 — along with children's books and essay collections.

She made an indelible mark on American letters and America's understanding of itself through the lens of the black American experience.

Her influence extended beyond her own writing. As an editor, mentor and friend, she lifted up a generation of writers whose stories hadn't been told.

She wrote from within the culture about the culture for the culture — and her work has impacted the world.

We reflected on Morrison's legacy with Paula Giddings, professor emerita of Africana Studies at Smith College, and Dana Williams, chair of the English department at Howard University and president of the Toni Morrison Society.