Princeton to Launch Tribute to Former Professor and Award-winning Author Toni Morrison

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Princeton University recently announced that they’ll be launching a tribute to former professor and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. 

Scheduled to be on display for a span of a little over three months from Feb. 22 to June 4, the tribute will be titled “Toni Morrison: Sites of Memory.” Available at the Princeton University Library, the exhibit will give viewers a deep look at all aspects of Morrison’s history and accomplishments. 

The tribute will focus on things like her letters, manuscripts, pictures and maps she created while writing “Beloved,” as well as drafts of “Song of Solomon” and other plays and poems. Her music, created alongside vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, lectures at the university and a symposium with writer Edwidge Danticat will also be part of “Toni Morrison: Sites of Memory.”

With the release of the tribute, the university is also looking to bring new opportunities to artists that are influenced by Morrison’s work. Created in collaboration with the McCarter Theatre, Princeton’s project will give artists the chance to use the tribute and artist conversations as a basis for creating art based on Morrison’s short story “Recitatif.” Courses with the materials featured in the exhibit, a symposium with students who study Morrison’s works, art exhibits with the University’s Art Museum and a catalog created by the exhibit’s creators are also planned. 

“Rather than understanding this archive as fixed in time or institutionally bound, the exhibition, like Morrison, understands the archive to be flexible, contingent, ephemeral, and always open for negotiation,” said Autumn Womack, the Assistant Professor of African American Studies and English and creator of the exhibit, per a press release. “That is, as a site of active and collaborative memory-making.”

As a Howard University and Cornell University graduate, where she respectively earned a bachelor’s and Master of Arts in English,  Morrison published her first novel, the critically acclaimed “The Bluest Eye,” at the age of 39 in 1970 after working as a professor and editor. With her second book, “Sula,” Morrison was nominated for a National Book Award, and, by the time her third book “Song of Solomon was released,” she became recognized nationally as a critically-acclaimed writer, devoting her entire time to her career. 

Throughout her writing career, Morrison went on to earn more achievements. In 1987, she won the Pultizer Prize for Fiction for “Beloved,” a hit that remained on the Bestseller list for 25 weeks. In 1993, she won the Nobel Prize in Literature and became the first Black woman to do so. In 1996, she gave the Jefferson Lecture and was presented with the National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

In 2000, Morrison was eventually named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.

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