August 8th, 2019 | Updated on March 20th, 2020
Toni Morrison, the brilliant mind and towering novelist died on August 5, 2019 at 88 years old. Born on February 18, 1931, Morrison was an American novelist, editor and highly esteemed professor at Princeton University.
Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize in Literature, Morrison was a beacon in African-American culture, having penned countless works in her lifetime-11 novels, nine non-fiction works, five children’s books, two short stories, and two plays throughout her 88 years of life.
We have gathered some of most memorable Toni Morrison quotes on love, race and writing.
1. “Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.” — Toni Morrison (Jazz)
2. “Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love. The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover’s inward eye.”— Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye)
3. “In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”— Toni Morrison
4. “Black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form.”— Toni Morrison
5. “I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”— Toni Morrison
6. “The function of freedom is to free someone else.”— Toni Morrison
7. “As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.”— Toni Morrison
8. “Lonely was much better than alone.”— Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye)
9. “I dream a dream that dreams back at me”— Toni Morrison (A Mercy)
10. ” You wanna fly, you got to give up the thing that weighs you down.”— Toni Morrison
11. “Make a difference about something other than yourselves.”— Toni Morrison
12. “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”— Toni Morrison
13. “You need a whole community to raise a child. I have raised two children, alone.”— Toni Morrison
14. “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”— Toni Morrison
15. “When there is pain, there are no words. All pain is the same.”— Toni Morrison
16. “Everything I’ve ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it.”— Toni Morrison
17. “Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”— Toni Morrison
18. “I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.”— Toni Morrison
19. “As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.”— Toni Morrison
20. “Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”— Toni Morrison