Farewell to Toni Morrison, 1993 Nobel Prize Recipient

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The first African American to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature (1993), Toni Morrison was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civil recognition in the USA) by President Barack Obama in 2012. Her books expose the banality and clichés about race and racism, powerfully illustrating that we no longer understand the true meaning of the word and showing us how necessary it is to re-examine this theme. Speaking about the writer, who died in New York City on 6 August 2019 at the age of 88, Obama described her as “a national treasure,” whose writing “was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination.” He concluded with the words, “What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while!”

At the Literature Festival in Mantua, Italy in 2012, Morrison commented: “When Obama was elected, certain prejudices were thought to have ended, but the past continues to recur.” She then went on to affirm: “We are not a post-racial society. Racism is a cancer that cannot be eradicated with different medicines. To find an answer, something must change within us.”