"Your life is already artful—waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art.” — Toni Morrison (Wellesley College Commencement Address in 2004)
Known for her epic novels depicting the African American experience, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison passed away this week at the age of 88. After graduating from Howard University in 1953, Morrison taught English at the prestigious school, starting a family and later writing her first novel, “The Bluest Eye” — published in 1970. Morrison became a rising literary star, and her third novel “Song of Solomon” won the National Book Critics Circle Award, earning her a spot on the National Council on the Arts. 1987’s “Beloved” is undoubtedly Morrison’s most popular work — the Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of a former slave haunted by her memories was later adapted into a film starring Oprah Winfrey. In May 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom — a well-deserved accolade for this very important voice in the American literary landscape.