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  • Writer's pictureJeida K.

In Memory of Our Queen | Toni Morrison

The tears have stopped flowing long enough for me to express full thoughts about the passing of Ms. Toni Morrison.

Writers (and readers) everywhere are mourning the loss of such a literary legend. Ms. Morrison was a rare jewel, a movement all on her own. She wrote complex characters with an unflinching truth that we couldn't tear our eyes away from. Her prose is absolutely unmatched. She impacted American literature by telling stories about black folks for black folks. She peeled back the layers of black Americans and let the world see our vulnerabilities, our wounds, our beauty, and our humanity.

I was fortunate enough to graduate from THE Georgia State University's English Program, and in my senior year they offered a course on the incomparable Toni Morrison. I couldn't register for that class fast enough. A whole semester dedicated to the works of the legendary Ms. Morrison was exactly how I wanted to finish my degree. I assumed the class would be mostly black, but not only was it a mixed group of professor was a white man. I had just finished a Literature by African-American Women course (where Tina McElroy Ansa came to speak!), so I was excited to read and study more by Ms. Morrison. As much as I was obsessed with her prose, her characters, her setting, her storytelling... I will never forget how my professor was moved nearly to tears as he spoke with such conviction about Ms. Morrison and how her works affected him deeply.

That's when I truly understood the power in literature; that story can make a white man want to weep over the powerful words written by a black woman... that a class was jam-packed with Black, White, Asian, and Latinx students every week... to gather around and appreciate and glean lessons presented to us by a Black woman. I swelled with pride. I thought... "Wow. Now, that is power."

Ms. Morrison, I can never thank you enough for your fearlessness, your tenacity, your authenticity, your blackness, your pride, your wisdom, your art, your vision, your gift... There are pieces of you in so many writers...I pray we make you proud and that you know that your legacy is immortal.

Rest peacefully, Queen Toni. You have done well.

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