Toni Morrison was one of the best, beautiful additions to African-American Literature. To honour her memory, let’s look at the time when she graced the Northeastern University with her presence. Morrison was then the keynote speaker in Blackman Auditorium in an event hosted by the University. The event was called “No Welcome Home: Remembering Harms and Restoring Justice”. It was held in the honour of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
“Each is a story of humiliation, of degradation, and—very often—of blood,” Morrison had said. “To revive these stories, to put them on display, is almost as important as the original justice could have been.”
Morrison, who was 81 at that time, urged people to focus on the goodness and the idea of goodness. It is, according to her, a powerful tool against hatred and violence, a quiet force that will conquer those evils. When a question came from the audience, regarding the nature of violence in today’s society, Morrison explained how violence always steals the limelight, drawing attention to itself, while goodness is tucked away in a corner. “Evil and violence take the stage—all of it. It needs so much to call our attention,” Morrison said. “However, goodness doesn’t need anything. If it says anything at all, it’s a whisper.”
Morrison shed light on how the World Wars nearly wiped out the concept of goodness from culture, society, and in turn, literature. “Now we have a culture of spectacle,” she cried, “and the idea of goodness—real goodness, from the people who don’t put their names on it—seems to have been completely erased.” Morrison, that day, also took part in a roundtable discussion with Northeastern students, led by Kimberly Brown. The topic of discussion was her first-ever novel ‘The Bluest Eye’. “Little black girls were never taken seriously in books, they were always jokes,” she stated. “ However, I wanted to read a book where they were taken seriously, so I had to write it.” The event was altogether a huge success, paying proper homage to Martin Luther King Jr.