Toni Morrison was an important writer. She majorly wrote about black people’s experiences; especially those of black women. She authored 11 novels, her novel ‘Beloved’ winning the Pulitzer Prize. She was the first black woman to win a Nobel prize in literature. Today, her books are being studied academically.
Morrison’s work on black history and identity helped to advance issues of civil rights and racial justice. She had a great influence. “Toni Morrison’s fictive work about black life lies at the intersection of memory, history, and trauma,” said Margaret Burnham, University Distinguished Professor of Law and director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University. “Law alone is an ineffective tool with which to grapple with traumatic memory, and so we have always worked closely with creative writers, visual artists, and musicians,” said Burnham, a civil and human rights lawyer who met Morrison at a few social settings in the 1970s.
Morrison’s works, as an author, are essential to the civil rights and restorative justice project. The organisation conducts research and supports policy initiatives on anti-civil rights violence and miscarriages of justice that occurred in the US between 1930-1970. For an event hosted by the group in 2013 to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Toni Morrison had been invited as the keynote speaker.
The highlight of this event was what happened behind the scenes. The event had invited three families, each of which had lost a member to racial violence in the 1940s. Members of these families had traveled from across the US to attend the event, and afterward, they got to spend some time with Morrison alone. “She stayed for two hours listening to the experiences of these family members, and what it meant for them to be able to share these traumatic events with a wider audience that included Ms. Morrison,” Burnham said.